A professor of computer science has warned that Ghana as a country cannot make much progress by merely promoting Information Communication Technology (ICT).
“ICT per se will not solve our problems, you need other resources like power and so on to make use of ICT. Buying electronics gadget without using them to solve your problems is a double loss,” he said.
Prof. Clement Dzidonu, who is also the President of Accra Institute of Technology, argues that while there is growing awareness of ICT in Ghana, the country is still at what he calls “the preliminary stages” of ICT. He said the country has not got to the stage where it could use ICT to transform the society and economy.
In his view, “we are still at the ground floor of ICT.”
Prof. Dzidonu made these remarks on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show monitored by ghanabusinessnews.com Thursday January 15, 2009.
“We are playing with the basics rather than using ICT for real change in terms of our education, economy or health and so on,” he said.
He acknowledged that the importance and awareness of the technology to solve economic and other problems have been achieved in the country, compared to some years back, “but what we have to do is to use the technology for real economic change and do things better,” he said.
He said the country has to move to the next stage of using ICT to transform the economy. He posited that it is not just about computers but using the technology to bring about real change.
He argues that we do not have the right skills set to develop the system and use it appropriately to bring about change.
“Getting a computer science degree doesn’t mean that you have the skills,” he said. Citing examples he said, one needs special skills to develop applications in e-commerce, e-health and e-education.
According to him, lack of the skills set is slowing down our progress in the use of ICT to achieve real growth.
Refering to Ghana’s ICT for Development (ICT4D) policy document, he said, the document has 14 pillars which cover every aspect of the country’s development.
While there is a high awareness about ICT in Ghana, internet penetration in the country is a mere 2.7 per cent as compared to 5.3 per cent in Africa.
And according to statistics, only 1.5 million Ghanaians have access to the internet.
Again a 2007 World Bank Report on internet usage in the world cited Ghana as one of the African countries with the lowest record of internet patronage, coming behind South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Senegal.
Indeed, Prof. Dzidonu whose contribution to ICT education in Ghana, and input in developing the country’s ICT policy document is so immens, couldn’t be far from the truth.
The country’s leadership must stop paying lip-service to ICT in development and do the right thing so that Ghana can fully benefit from ICT in terms of social and economic development.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi