Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has charged African governments to be proactive and have the political will to use digital technology to provide decent job opportunities for the youth and promote social inclusion.
He said enhancing the use of digital technology, for instance, in agriculture can also ensure economic growth and help alleviate poverty on the continent.
Dr Bawumia posits that should the African continent leverage on digital technology, it would help turnaround infrastructure challenges and make massive progress in its development drive.
The Vice-President indicated that Ghana had been using digital technology for farmer registration, inputs distribution, market information, farm and soil mapping, irrigation system management, surveillance at sea, weather forecast and supply of essential medicines to hard-to-reach areas.
He acknowledged some other African countries such as Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal and Mauritania that were benefiting from digital tools in improving e-commerce and engendering growth in small businesses.
The aforementioned countries, including Ghana, citing a recent World Bank ICT index report, he said, are among the top five African nations that is leveraging on digital technology to enhance public service delivery.
Dr Bawumia gave the advice in a keynote address delivered on his behalf by Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, at the opening of the 2019 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Accra yesterday.
The four-day forum will evaluate how far the African continent has progressed in the past decade with agriculture development, discuss policies and programmes that will help attract the needed investments, and strategise ways of leveraging on technology as a key driver for agricultural transformation.
More so, the platform would discuss challenges posed by climate change and evaluate how the African continent could utilise the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to boost trade and development.
It has brought together 2,300 delegates in Africa and across the globe, including heads of state, central bank governors and captains of industry, as well as development partners, farmer organisations, agripreneurs and other critical stakeholders.
The event is hosted by the Government of Ghana and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and is being held on the theme: ‘Grow Digital: Leveraging Digital Transformation to Drive Sustainable Food Systems’.
Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, in his brief remarks, outlined the objectives of the forum, including showcasing Africa’s agricultural transformation efforts and ensuring that it was in accordance with the Malabo Declaration and court political support from African governments and development partners for greater investments and leadership to transform the agricultural sector.
He said the forum would create a platform for agribusinesses and farmer organisations to negotiate with partner organisations that would ensure new deals and partnerships towards increasing investments in the sector.
President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, Dr Agnes Kalibata, the convenor of the forum, on her part, said it would create an opportunity for discussions to ensure that the continent leveraged on technology and digitisation, including use of mobile phones, drones and satellite imagery to resolve infrastructure challenges in the agricultural sector in Africa.
She urged the media to play a critical role by educating the populace on the issues that were tabled for discussion and disseminate accurate information about the key outcomes of the forum in order to rally the people towards the implementation of the resolution.
There are more than 250 million farmers in Africa; therefore, the key issues that will emerge from the forum will help the African continent leapfrog into the next level of food security and create job opportunities for millions of the teeming unemployed youth.
The AGRF is the ninth edition, which is the brainchild of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who was the founding chairperson of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa: hence the forum was moved to Accra this year, to coincide with the one-year anniversary of his passing.
Source: The Finder