National Digital Economy Policy in the offing – Minister

The Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation is developing a National Digital Economy Policy (NDEP) to guide the sector and accelerate the development of the country.

The Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, who announced this in a speech read on her behalf by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Mrs Magdalene Ewuraesi Appenteng, at the Graphic Business Stanbic Bank breakfast meeting in Accra, said the NDEP had become necessary on view of the country’s increasing adoption of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the delivery of services.

She said the coming of technology giants into the country had necessitated the need for the NDEP.

The policy, which among others, would guide the operations of players in the ICT sector and how the government wants to develop the economy, she said currently being developed by some consultants.

The day’s programme attended by captains of industry and players from the ICT sector was on the theme “Digitalisation:  The Key to Unlocking the Ghanaian Dream.”

The Minister who was the keynote speaker said the key objective of the government was to formalise the economy through digital technology and digitalisation to promote efficiency and innovation.

“Digital technology, applications, processes and services provide the key and we recognised that very early in this administration,” saying it was therefore incumbent on government to provide the necessary infrastructure and enabling framework for economic transformation.

She explained that, there was a difference between digitisation and digitalisation, saying whereas digitisation “is the simple transformation of Information or processes from a physical or manual form into digital or electronic ones, digitalisation involves applying to improve business process and or create new revenue streams.”

She said digitisation, among others, rode on four pillars, technology, data, process, stressing that “these pillars do not automatically achieve the desired results by themselves and have to be coordinated in a deliberate manner to solve existing problems and provide solutions for a better economic and social welfare.”

 She said the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that digital transformation for businesses and the economy was the way to propel businesses and ensure economic growth.

“The most critical lesson the pandemic taught us is effective digitalisation through reliable and efficient connectivity is the surest way to survival,” she said, adding that many of the interventions rolled out by the government such at the Mobile Money Interoperability, implementation of Universal  Quick Response code, had led to massive improvement to service delivery.

She said a study conducted by the International Finance Corporation in 2019 titled “Digital Skills in Sub-Saharan Africa: Spotlight on Ghana” revealed that there is a strong demand for digital skills in SSA generally, and, Ghana in particular.

She said the study projected that there would be 230 million digital jobs in SSA by 2030 and this will mainly be in the areas of business-to-business and business-to-government.

“In revenue terms, the study forecasted that by 2030, opportunities for jobs requiring skills will be worth $130 billion, out of which Ghana will account for $4 billion and nine million jobs” the Minister said.

Highlighting on the theme of the programme, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, said it was apt considering that every country in the world was busily undertaking initiatives to transform their economies through digitalisation.

BY KINGSLEY ASARE

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