Veep opens IMF conference in Accra

The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said Ghana is positioning herself for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) driven by technology to enhance the ease of doing business in the country.

The move he said would also promote quality education delivery and create jobs for the teeming unemployed.

According to him, the FIR driven by technology was currently influencing the world of business, work and education and Ghana had to initiate strategies to tap the benefits associated with the FIR.

Addressing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conference on the theme, ‘The future of work in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA),’ Dr Bawumia said the government had initiated programmes to digitise the economy and enhance the ease in doing business in the country to insulate the country from the disruptions of the FIR.

He mentioned some of the digitisation programmes as the Paperless Port System, National Digital Addressing System, Mobile Money Interoperatability System, and the National ID Programme.

The day’s conference which forms part  of activities of the two-day working visit of  Ms Christine Lagarde, the IMF Managing Director,  to Ghana  is on  the theme, ‘Looking ahead to chart today’s course:  The future of work in sub-Saharan Africa’.

Dr Bawumia, who was the keynote speaker, said the government was also in the process of digitising land registration in the country and a base map survey to that effect was being developed.

Ms Lagarde in her address said three global and regional forces would shape the future of SSA, and mentioned them as demographics, technology and climate change.

He said the region’s growing population would require more jobs and said more than 20 million jobs would have to be created annually to keep up with population growth and called for measures for the SSA to benefit from its demographic dividends.

On technology, Ms Lagarde said advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics were poised to dramatically transform the job market, improve living standards in the long run and create new jobs to replace old ones.

“Others fear that automation will replace humans in variety of tasks, leading to job losses and rising inequality,” she said, adding that “there is little doubt that the transition will be challenging for those who do not stay ahead of the curve”.

Ms Lagarde on climate change said the menace was expected to hit low income countries the hardest and a 1-degree Celsius rise in temperature could cause low-income countries to experience a 1.5 per cent fall in Gross Domestic Product on average.

“This means that right here in Ghana, without mitigating measures, rising temperatures and changing humidity levels may threaten cocoa production.  This would undermine Ghana’s export base and the livelihood of tens of thousands of Ghana,” she said.

Among other suggestions, Ms Lagarde called for huge investment in education and technology as well as digital connectivity to connect a lot of the citizens to internet services.

The Minister of Planning, Professor George Gyan Baffour in his remarks commended the IMF for organising the conference in Ghana, stressing it fits the programme of government to make Ghana the hub of international conferences in the sub-region.

By Kingsley Asare

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