The digital transformation journey embarked on by the government should be a shared vision by all Ghanaians, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has said.
In doing that, he urged the people to lead the conversation on how best the nation could position itself to drive its development agenda through inclusive and collaborative stakeholder participation in the digital innovation ecosystem.
“The opportunities to leverage technology for accelerated and inclusive development have never been so tangible. This is the time to take a critical look at our innovations and the digital transformation journey and feed our reflections and ambitions into a shared vision,” he said.
Dr Bawumia made the call at the opening of the maiden Ghana Digital Innovation Week in Accra yesterday.
The five-day Ghana Digital Innovation Week, which has attracted many development partners, particularly from Israel, Germany and Rwanda, is on the theme: “Mobilising collective action and investment to catalyse growth in Ghana’s innovation ecosystem”.
It is expected to serve as a platform to discuss and define a common national vision that drives digital innovation, generates wide interests and prompts concrete actions in the policy and the legislative regulatory spaces and the needed hard infrastructure.
“There is perhaps no more important development revolution facing us now than the fast approaching digitalisation and leveraging technology to develop our country,” the Vice-President said.
He urged Ghanaians to use the opportunity offered by the Digital Innovation Week to highlight the achievements of the nation in the digital innovation ecosystem.
He emphasised that to achieve inclusive and accelerated development, all stakeholders must work together in order to grow the innovation ecosystems of Ghana and African countries.
Tapping into the experience, expertise and networks of all countries, particularly African nations, the Vice-President indicated, “will not only offer us a wealth of lessons and insights but also help us build effective collaborative innovative ecosystems”.
He said the Ghana Digital Innovation Week had been the outcome of trilateral cooperation among Ghana, Germany and Israel on innovation and development.
“Hand in hand with our partners, we shall continue to nurture our local innovation ecosystems and establish connections with ecosystems abroad,” he added.
While saying that innovations had no boundaries, Dr Bawumia pointed out that for Ghana to explore its full potential, there was the need to join hands with local ecosystems and beyond to strengthen its foundations and accelerate innovations.
Tech and innovation hub
He emphasised that the government was currently in talks with its partners to assist it to accomplish its vision of becoming the technology and innovation hub in West Africa.
“It is because of this that the government has taken the decision that we need a technology and innovation park in the country,” he said.
While reiterating the commitment of the government to transform the country through digitalisation, Vice-President Bawumia said that could be achieved with strong institutions and systems.
Without those, he said, the nation would be stuck in a vicious circle of rhetoric and under-development.
Giving a background to the government’s digitalisation and transformation agenda, he explained that countries that innovated or were technologically superior were those that ended up climbing up the ladder of economic development.
That was why the government, on assumption of office, took the path to digitalisation and innovation very seriously, he said.
To that end, he said, a local team of experts was assembled to study abroad and came back to focus more on digitalisation, which had since made a major stride.
Dr Bawumia said there had been a lot of in-roads in digitalisation, but not much attention was given to the innovation part, even though innovation was happening but largely in silos.
That, he said, reinforced the building of an ecosystem which, among others, included entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, universities, faculties and technical service providers.
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, said his outfit recognised the role research, innovation and digital innovation played in the development agenda of leading economies and the standard of living of their people.
He said it was for that reason that Ghana had placed science, technology and innovation at the centre of its development agenda as it worked to achieve a Ghana Beyond Aid.