2024 Supply Chain Research Summit held in Accra

June 6, 2024
2024 Supply Chain Research Summit held in Accra

The Centre for Applied Research and Innovation in Supply Chain – Africa's (CARISCA), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology () 2024 Supply Chain Research Summit has been held in .

The three-day meeting, which was from 4th to 6th, June, was on the theme: “Africa's Supply Chain Resilience for Economic Transformation”.

It was attended by researchers, academics and policymakers from across Africa, the , the , , Canada, and Denmark.

CARISCA is an innovative partnership between Arizona State University (ASU) and KNUST with support from the United States Agency for International Development (), that works to strengthen local capacity for improved supply chains in Ghana and throughout Africa.

CARISCA is part of the Building Research and Innovation for Development: Generating Evidence and Training (BRIDGE-Train) portfolio under the USAID Innovation, Technology and Research Hub in the Bureau for Inclusive Growth, Partnership, and Innovations.

CARISCA aims to establish KNUST as Africa's preeminent source of supply chain management expertise, serving as a resource for driving supply chain research and innovation; training supply chain management professionals; and engaging Ghanaian and African companies through projects and consulting. 

The Summit is central to CARISCA's goal to integrate Africa's Supply Chain Research into mainstream research and strengthen African supply chain capacity.

The Summit is the largest academic supply chain conference on the African continent.

Professor Rita Akosua Dickson, the Vice-Chancellor of the KNUST, in a statement read on her behalf by Prof Charles Marfo, Provost of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, KNUST, said CARISCA had the mission of leading transformational changes in Africa's supply chains.

She said the move called for events that seek to strengthen the capacity of Africa's higher education institutions and researchers, particularly young and emerging scholars on the continent.

“Let us not see this summit as just one of those events. Rather, let us embrace it as a vital platform for advancing our shared goal of pursuing research excellence about Africa's supply chain to make Africa matter in today's and future supply chain knowledge development,” she said.

Dr Lydiah Kiburu, Group Director for Business Transformation, Brand and Culture Equity Group Holdings Plc (), speaking on the topic “Leveraging Technology and Innovation to Build Resilient Supply Chains in Africa”, noted that digitisation was opening the door to MSMEs and

even individual enterprises to take part in cross-border commerce giving birth to a new era of micro multinationals, reducing over-reliance on mega suppliers of goods and services.

Touching on the shared economy, she said white label platforms were supporting faster and easier approaches to building commerce sites; rented service space, and outsourced key roles such as legal services, accounting and marketing; adding that using remote reduces cost and improves efficiency.

Concerning building transparency and visibility, Dr Kiburu said new communication such as and interactive online platforms were shaping globalisation by democratising access to information for decision making.

She said using new technologies, workers operating like entrepreneurs were able to auction their skills and services to the highest bidder in the online market space, enabling the supply chain to optimize their productivity.

Professor Dale S. Rogers, Principal Investigator and Executive Director of the CARISCA Project and ON Semiconductor Professor of Business at the Supply Chain Management Department at Arizona State University, speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at the Summit said the Summit had become the place where new research ideas relevant to Africa were developed and presented.

“The aim of the Summit is to exchange research ideas, try to stimulate conversations and ideas about how we can improve supply chain across Africa.”

Professor Nathaniel Boso, CARISCA Director, in an interview with the GNA said the Summit sought to make development problems in Africa known to the rest of the world so that when researchers from Africa approached funding bodies from around the globe, they would understand and appreciate it and would be able to release those findings for research projects.

“I don't want to sound negative, but we know that getting money to do research in Africa is almost impossible, our Governments do not commit two per cent of their GDP (gross domestic product) to research. I think on average currently, less than one per cent of GDP in Africa is being committed to research,” he stated.

“And what do we do? For as in academia, we decided to go beyond Africa to try to get these development partners to come and help us. And part of the thing we do in this Summit is to try to make that known to the world, that yeah, we are capable of doing research but we also need funding support.”

He reiterated that part of the Summit dealt with exposing younger scholars to the best practices in research and networking.

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