Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia says government would leverage on technological innovations as agent of growth, source of income and way of work in the public sector and industry to promote socio-economic development.
He said opportunities abounded in the new digital age and gave the assurance that government was ready to create an enabling environment through pragmatic policies that would give equal opportunities to all Ghanaians in deployment and commercialisation of exponential technologies.
He said the use of technology had enabled nations to leapfrog from a case of zero to abundance and, therefore, urged the private sector to partner government in harnessing the technological potentials to develop capabilities that would empower the nation’s economy.
Vice President Bawumia said this at the opening of the 2017 Innovation Week of the Advanced Information Technology Institute of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT in Accra on Tuesday.
The four-day event is on the theme: “Exponential Technologies and Innovation – A Key Enabler for Socio-Economic Development,” which attracted Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enthusiasts, researchers, entrepreneurs, teachers and students.
The forum is designed to support the development of ICT and electronic industry in Ghana and provide opportunity for experts and enthusiasts to engage in conversations that would propel the digitisation revolution of the country.
It seeks to strengthen the linkages between academic and research institutions and industry, as well as promoting ICT and electronics in accordance with the Government’s policy of developing global value-added and competitive services, which would position the nation as a regional ICT hub.
The event also provided a platform to showcase some innovative works of young students like digital products and solutions, mobile applications, robotics and raspberry PI.
The Vice President acknowledged the role played by India by partnering the Government of Ghana to establish the ICT Centre and expressed appreciation to the Indian Government for its contributions and efforts in making the project a reality.
He said the rapid exponential growth in technology and innovation were making positive impact on today’s global economy and influencing business strategies, decisions and models.
Dr Bawumia said the nation had embraced digital revolution and, thus, mentioned the launch of the National Identification System, the implementation of the National Digital Property Addressing System, Drivers’ Licensing and Vehicle Registration, e-registration of businesses and paperless port project were fundamental steps for improving the information platform to manage the economy.
He said government would embrace public-private partnership in developing ICT infrastructure and reduce the cost of operations.
“The Government is determined to making Ghana an ICT economy as enshrined in the ICT for Development Policy as part of our road map of becoming a smart nation.
“Government is promoting electronic governance to facilitate public governance and ensure quality service delivery,” he noted.
The Vice President said the civil service played a crucial role in the governance of the nation, therefore, the deployment of exponential technologies would support in that regard.
“This will improve the efficiency of government services, reduce operational cost and bring governance closer to the people.
“We are bringing governance to the people through e-governance initiatives, which have brought improvement in its day-to-day operations resulting in effectiveness and efficiency,” he explained.
Dr Bawumia noted that global technological advancement had redefined ‘’the way we live, play and work,’’ therefore Ghana could not afford to be left behind and would harness the potentials of ICT to accelerate development.
“As a government, we stand to exploit these technologies to our advantage and re-emphasise our government’s commitment to implementing the various components inherent in the ICT for Development Policy,” he said.
Vice President Bawumia noted that the implementation of the Policy would ensure the realisation of the vision to transform the nation into an information-rich knowledge-based economy through the development, deployment and exploitation of ICT within the economy and society.
“For instance, in Papua New Guinea, an international NGO, Doctors without Borders, resorted to the use of drones to carry about 10,000 laboratory samples from rural areas to tuberculosis diagnosis station as a result of inaccessibility of roads to those areas.
“Rwanda is at the verge of using drones to deliver parcels and needed medical supplies to remote areas. Through the use of exponential technologies, Google recently used its Virtual Reality (Google Expedition) product to teach biology anatomy in grammar school in the Czech Republic,” he said.
Vice President Bawumia said the world was witnessing a new farming revolution triggered by the application of new exponential technologies.
Farmers in the United States of America, through the use of Global Positioning Systems and Geographical Information Systems, could collect accurate data on their lands, soil and weather conditions to properly plan before planting, he said.
The Vice President said technology had enabled farmers in developed countries to apply the right amount of fertilizers while they used huge harvesters to harvest in large quantities, with yield monitoring devices being introduced to capture the actual yield of crops in real time.
He, however, noted that the use of technology had its associated challenges, therefore, government had set up an Inter-ministerial Advisory Committee and National Cyber Security Secretariat, as well as the enactment and enforcement of national cyber security laws to strengthen the local industry and attract foreign investments.
He said it would ensure that global standards and practices were adhered to in the deployment of those technologies.