By Gordon Asare Bediako
Vice President Alhaji Mahamadu Bawumia is wooing technology investors and innovators, urging them to take advantage of the many competitive opportunities Ghana has, including the stable macro-economic environment and a large pool of talent to set up shops here in Ghana.
Touting the Akufo-Addo government’s determination to make Ghana the most business-friendly country in Africa, H.E. Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who met with leading lights in Silicon Valley when he paid a five day working visit to the Valley from April 10, 2018, said
“We as a government want to set the framework, the environment, then move out of the way so that you guys can do what you do best. Whether it is in health, education, agriculture, utility service provision or wherever, you can come in and invest and help us with the sort of innovations that you can come up with.”
Together with some government officials and the leadership of 15 leading local ICT firms, the Vice President is on a visit to the technology hub of Silicon Valley, California, USA 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 digitisation of the Ghanaian economy to move Ghana Beyond Aid.
Some of the companies visited include: General Electric, IBM, GreyLock Partners, AirBnB, SalesForce, Stanford SEED, and LinkIn.
The Vice President also called for partnerships between Ghanaian ICT firms and their Silicon valley compatriots, insisting that Ghanaian talent was as good as any found anywhere in the world, if not better.
“The indigenous ICT firms are as good as any you can find anywhere in the world. Government is convinced about that and we want to encourage our local ICT firms as much as possible to be very competitive,” he stated, adding “a collaboration between you is likely to be of mutual benefit to all parties.”
The ICT leads accompanying the Vice President include representatives from GHIPSS, Hubtel, BlueSpace Africa, DreamOval, Rancard, Nsano, ExpressPay, IBM, and Bsystems.
The rest are from IT Consortium, Trotro Tractor, General Electric, Callens Solution, Edel Technology Consult and the SoftTribe.
The Government of President Nana Akufo-Addo according to him, is reviewing a number of regulations governing the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector in order to free up the innovative talent and capabilities of already existing and start-up companies.
The review would, among other objectives, also aim to make it easier to enter and invest in the sector in order to support the government’s desire to increase the use of ICT to solve peculiar Ghanaian challenges, while ensuring the appropriate security assurances for users and investors.
He said “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 actualising promising ideas easier.”
In another development, the Vice President urged Ghanaian community in the Bay area of San Francisco, USA to make their skills and expertise available to their compatriots back home to speed up the pace of development and that Ghana is on a path of major recovery in all spheres after a year of prudent policy implementation by the Nana Akufo-Addo government.
According to him, government has inherited a very challenging economic situation, but due to prudent measures that President Akufo-Addo and his cabinet continue to implement, in 2017 they recorded remarkable economic growth and fulfilled a number of major promises made to the good people of Ghana.
The Free Senior High School Education and the restoration of Teacher and Nursing Training allowances despite enormous fiscal challenges, Vice President Bawumia said any nation that seeks to achieve holistic development must necessarily invest in its human capital, “and the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is very committed to the education of every young person in Ghana, because an educated population is a prerequisite for growth.”
He also talked about Structural economic reforms and said they are also beginning to yield positive results, Dr Bawumia continued, with Inflation down to 10.4%, Interest and Treasury Bill rates on the decline, and business confidence growing.
“We have maintained exchange rate stability, and last year, for the first time since 2006, a Ghanaian government met and surpassed the deficit target. All of this reflected in a real GDP growth of 8.5% in 2017, from an inherited 3.7%. Indeed, that was the fastest growth rate in the world”, the Vice President announced to loud applause.
Government, he indicated has also embarked on an ambitious Digitisation drive geared towards leveraging the use of technology for the transformation agenda, with the roll-out of the National Digital Property Addressing System, the soon-to-be-issued national ID card, the land records digitisation agenda and efforts to increase financial inclusion via interoperability in the payment systems, and the visit to Silicon Valley was further evidence of this commitment.