Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says government is leveraging on digital technology to unlock agriculture potentials in the country and stimulate economic growth.
To that end, he said government over the years, had been instituting appropriate policies and laws to ensure smallholder farmers, agripreneurs, small-and-medium scale enterprises, farm organisations and other critical stakeholders in the agriculture value chain use digital technology to engender efficiency in their operations.
He said Ghana had been using digital technology in farmer registration, inputs distribution, market information, farm and soil mapping, irrigation system management, surveillance at sea, weather forecast and supply of essential medicines to hard-to-reach areas.
He acknowledged some African countries such as Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal and Mauritania that were benefiting from digital tools in improving e-commerce and engendering growth in small businesses.
He, therefore, encouraged other African countries to be proactive and have the political will to use digital technology, in order to provide decent job opportunities for the youth and promote social inclusion, as well as ensure economic growth and alleviate poverty on the Continent.
According to a recent World Bank ICT Index Report, Ghana is among the top five African nations that is leveraging on digital technology to enhance public service delivery.
Vice President Bawumia gave the advice in a keynote address delivered on his behalf by Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, at the opening of the 2019 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Accra on Tuesday.
He was of the conviction that should the African Continent leverage on digital technology, it would help leapfrog infrastructure challenges and make massive progress in its development drive.
The AGRF is the ninth edition, which is the brainchild of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who was the founding chairperson of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa: hence the forum was moved to Accra this year, to coincide with the one-year anniversary of his passing.
The event is the world’s premier forum for African agriculture, pulling together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to discuss and commit policies, programmes and investments to achieve an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation across the African Continent.
The forum attracted about 2,300 delegates from 79 countries in Africa and across the globe, including Heads of State, Ministers of Agriculture, Central Bank Governors, captains of industry, development partners, representatives of farmer organizations, youth entrepreneurs and other critical stakeholders.
It is being held under the theme: “Grow Digital: Leveraging Digital Transformation to Drive Sustainable Food Systems in Africa”.
It will also evaluate how far the African Continent has progressed in the past decade and look at ways to jumpstart what needs to be done differently in the next five to 10 years, to put Africa’s agriculture on a new footing, with digitisation as a key driver for agricultural transformation.
Vice President Bawumia also mentioned some interventions government had rolled out to promote efficiency in public service delivery, including Paperless Ports System, National Digital and Property Addressing System, Mobile Money Interoperability System, Smart driver’s licence, e-business registration, Biometric Identification System, usage of drones for supply of essential medicines to some deprived communities.
He underlined the need for building partnerships and soliciting the right investments to drive the digital technology agenda in Africa so that the Continent derived the needed benefits.
“Ghana now has a strong digital environment with regards to laws and policies, As far back as 2003, the country devised a road map for the development of its information society through the development of policy on Ghana Information Communication Technology Accelerated Development.
“His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo has concerned himself with building a new and efficient Ghana firmly anchored on digital technology for accelerated development,” he stressed.
Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, the Convener of the AGRF, in her welcome address, outlined three key objectives for this year’s forum.
They include leveraging on digital technology to leapfrog Africa’s agricultural development, dealing with climate change challenges on agriculture and striking partnerships between entrepreneurs through new business deals to achieve the African green revolution agenda.
Dr. Kalibata underlined the need for all stakeholders to make the next decade Africa’s green revolution agenda a reality through sustainable agricultural practices and promote food security to alleviate poverty and curb illegal migration.