By Rex Mainoo Yeboah
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's vision of a Ghana beyond aid is firmly anchored on the innovative ideas of her citizens, home or abroad, to harness with technology, the country's resources for accelerated development.
A key pillar of this vision is to leverage on Information & Communication Technology (ICT) to take advantage of the vast brain power Ghanaians had been endowed with, to make a difference in the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who articulated the vision to a gathering of Ghanaian technology experts working in the universally-acclaimed home of ICT, Silicon Valley, California, USA on Wednesday, said Ghana could not and would not continue to rely on only her natural resources to achieve sustainable economic growth and development.
Dr Bawumia said government was convinced that the use of ICT was a key component of the Ghana beyond aid agenda and would continue to engage stakeholders in the sector.
Citing on-going projects such as the National Digital Property Addressing System, the soon-to-be-issued national ID card, the land records digitization agenda and efforts to increase financial inclusion via interoperability in the payment systems, Dr Bawumia indicated that government was already engaged in the use of technology for the transformation agenda.
"We are trying to build a new, efficient Ghana. The world is continually evolving, and this evolution is led by cutting edge technology. We know there are many talented young men and women in the ICT space, and government is looking at ways to make innovating and actualizing promising ideas easier," the Vice President explained.
Dr Bawumia appealed to tech-savvy Ghanaians everywhere to collaborate with their compatriots back home to come up with Ghanaian solutions to Ghanaian challenges.
"Ghana needs your expertise to get to the next stage, to go beyond aid, and I am confident that we can count on you. Together we can build a prosperous, ICT-led Ghana," he implored.
The Vice President, together with the leadership of 15 local ICT firms, are on a five-day working visit to the technology hub of Silicon Valley during which he will hold discussions with the Valley's thought and technology leaders to explore the possibilities of developing strategic insight, decisions and partnerships with the view of helping to enhance the digitization of the Ghanaian economy to move the country beyond aid.
It would be recalled that the Vice President recently visited a number of Ghanaian ICT firms to understand their challenges to aid policy formulation. The visit to Silicon Valley is, therefore, to engage the world leaders in ICT to exchange ideas and fashion out Ghanaian solutions to Ghanaian challenges.
Dr Bawumia is scheduled to meet with Corporate Executives of cutting edge digital technology organizations including Microsoft, Facebook, Tesla, and Alphabet, and visit a number of facilities including the G.E. Digital Centre and the IBM Watson Centre.
The Vice President will also meet with the Ghanaian community and brief them on happenings back home. The ICT leaders accompanying the Vice President include representatives from GHIPSS, Hubtel, BlueSpace Africa, Dream Oval, Rancard, Nsano, ExpressPay, IBM, Bsystems, IT Consortium, Trotro Tractor, General Electric and Callens Solution,
The rest are George Nenyi Andah; Deputy Minister for Communication, Mohammad Tijanni Habibu, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alex Tetteh Djornobuah, MP for Sefwi Akontonbra and member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education and Halidu Ali Maiga, Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs.