Ghana: The Nation is Using Technology to Solve Local Problems - Dr. Bawumia

Ghana is showing the way in using technological innovation to solve local problems in governance on the continent, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has said.

Dr. Bawumia said over the past two years the Akufo-Addo administration has rolled out "a vast number of digitization initiatives to facilitate access to and enhance the delivery of government services."

"Technological innovation is helping us finding better ways of solving local problems in governance," Dr. Bawumia disclosed this at the Emerging Markets Summit on the theme "Digital Governance in Emerging Markets" at the University of Chicago Booth Business School in the United States of America on Saturday, 13th April, 2019.

He said, in order to realise the 'Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda a conscious effort is being made by the ruling New Patriotic Party government to "formalize the economy by leveraging technology innovation and digitization."

"With digitization, we are introducing new and more efficient ways of doing things. We are changing the way things are done in the affected institutions for the benefit of ordinary Ghanaians," Dr. Bawumia said.

Outlining some of the reforms which have been undertaken in the digitization and formalization process in the last two years, Dr. Bawumia stated: "The introduction of National ID Cards (with finger prints, Iris and photo) is a game changer and the process should be completed in another year. Everyone will have a unique ID (like the Social Security Number) from birth to death. It will form the basis for an integrated national database system (drivers licence, passport, health, police, voting.

"We have leveraged on technology to introduce a Digital Address System. Every 5x5 square meter of land or water in Ghana has a unique digital address. The mobile application (GhanaPostGPS) is available on the google playstore or iTunes. Can find any location in Ghana. The UK for example took 15 years to roll out the postcode system. Thanks to technology, we did it in one year with more precision."

To address the challenge of financial inclusion, Vice President Bawumia indicated that "Mobile money payments interoperability has been implemented. 34.5 million mobile money accounts but only 30% of the bankable population is banked. We have solved the problem of financial inclusion be making mobile money accounts interoperable with bank accounts (the first country in Africa to do this. This is a major step to financial inclusion and movement towards cashless payments for government services".

With this, Ghana is set to abolish cash payments for government services as all payments would be possible electronically whether you have a bank account or not.

In addition, Dr. Bawumia mentioned the innovative online National Health Insurance registration, online tax-filing system, e-registration of businesses, automation of the application for Business Operating Permit, automation of the construction permit system, implementation of an electronic justice system to track court documents, the paperless port system and the yet-to-be rolled out Zipline medical drone system.

"Leapfrogging to an innovative knowledge-based economy is necessary if we are to stimulate a sustainable path of development anchored to the wealth of our natural resources. To this end, we are investing in free senior high school education to make sure children from poor homes are not denied senior high school education, a graduate internship and learning programme covering a 100,000 young Ghanaians for starters, and support for young entrepreneurs through a National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme," the vice president stated.

Dr. Bawumia said the government will continue to play its role of making the environment conducive for the private sector to "develop solutions to our local problems."

"As government, we need to play a role not only in planning the application of technology in addressing our development challenges, but also in the facilitation and promotion of enterprise level technological efforts. We believe that some supportive role of government is necessary for the development of technological capabilities in our quest for industrial pathways," he concluded.

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