The absence of data and open processes, according to Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, is one of the challenges that African nations must overcome in order to modernize their economies.
He asserts that the majority of African nations lack adequate and comprehensive data when making judgments about how to govern and run their economies.
He remarked that as a result, economic policies and actions have not produced the desired results.
At the 2023 African Development Conference, which was held at Harvard University in the United States of America, Dr. Bawumia said “The reality is that African countries have been trying to transform their economies without data and transparent systems. Governments are taking critical decisions without the being informed by the data”.
He added that “When our government assumed office in 2017, we made the ambitious decision to address all the problems of the lack of unique identity, address systems, etc. immediately and simultaneously. The question was what is the best way to do it?
Our decision was to quickly transform our economy by leveraging on technological innovations as a means to leapfrog the development process, overcome legacy problems, and improve both economic and public sector governance. We chose digitalization as the vehicle and this is why digitalization has been a major area of focus for our government. If data is the new oil, digitization is the most efficient and cost effective vehicle for generating the data”. African nations won’t be able to fully engage in the Fourth Industrial Revolution without this information.
Dr. Bawumia said the implementation of a biometric national identification system in Ghana has been a game-changer in various ways. He went on to discuss the major areas of transformation that he noticed have been crucial to Ghana’s digitization revolution.
“More than 17 million people (over 80% of the targeted adult population) enrolled in the secured national database. With the Ghanacard, the identity of people (even dead people) can be established using their fingerprints. This is one of the most transformational projects implemented under digitalization. We have solved a problem of providing unique identity to our population. A problem we have lived with since independence 66 years ago. We have also started a pilot and will likely roll out nationwide a system of providing National ID numbers to children at birth from June this year,” he said.
Among other innovations fueling Ghana’s economic growth, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia listed the Property Addressing System, Mobile Money Interoperability, and Digitalized Tax Payment System.