Ghana’s implementation of the National Identification System using technology to provide valuable information on every citizen has been a significant step forward in the country’s move towards a digital revolution.
To give it its full name, the National Biometric Identification Card developed by the National Identification Authority (NIA), will provide vital information for computing Ghana’s GDP and helping the government assess the needs of its population across schools, hospitals and other services. There’s also the country’s Digital Property Address System (DPAS), for easy identification of the property, people, and places and an easy way of updating the nation’s database.
Furthermore, the progress in integrating government records through the National Biometric Identification Card, also known as the Ghana Card, makes it an acceptable card for any transaction.
From June 2021 to this current moment, Ghanaians have witnessed a series of integration of other cards with the Ghana Card. These cards include; Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Tax Identification Numbers (TIN), Sim Cards and many more proposed integrations, such as merging the database of the Ghana Card with the Criminal Investigation Department of the Police Service. Hence, various public and banking sectors accept the Ghana Card as a legitimate identification card for transactions.
Ghana has long been an outlier in Africa for embracing technology solutions. In 2017 it introduced Paperless Ports mainly to address the issues of long periods spent during clearance of goods and the digitisation of paper records of the birth and death registration to capture vital information on citizens. It also makes it easy for retrieval and accessibility.
All over the world, science and technology are recognised as essential tools for a country’s social and economic growth and development.
Technological innovation has been a significant driver in the transformation of many industrialised countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Korea and many others. Now Ghana is catching up, and former President Nkrumah’s vision of improving its social and economic development through science, technology and innovation is recognised. As far back as 1957, Dr Kwame Nkrumah announced technological solutions for Ghana, and this dream has continued to live to the 21st century.
There is no doubt that technological innovations are needed in many sectors of the country, such as health, industry, energy, trade, Information Communication Technology, education, sports, national security, transport and many more. All these sectors have seen few innovations and need more innovations to grow and improve the nation’s socio-economic sector. However, in recent times, there has been an application of technological innovation in the nation’s digitisation system to develop a database system of Ghanaians for easy identification and retrieval of information. The public sector is one area where these innovations have been implemented.
GHANA’S DIGITISATION AGENDA
Another field that has experienced a shift and transformation due to technological innovations is the banking world and payment platforms. The introduction of digital banking, e-commerce, mobile money and other digital payment platforms have revolutionised how business is done.
Many state institutions have adopted these platforms to enhance payment in public services. A typical example is the Ghana.gov digital service and payment platform for payment to various government agencies and ministries by citizens. Many private online businesses have incorporated these digital payment platforms for payment transactions. The area of Covid-19 also influenced innovations and their implementation in banking and payment transactions.
Due to the gradual shift to digitisation, managing and protecting data will continue to be a major risk issue. Therefore, it will be essential for the government, businesses and all other stakeholders to address data protection and cybersecurity concerns, including the requirements of the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843), the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038) and other vital legislation.
The impact of technological progress and digitisation on Ghana’s economy
Technological innovations in these areas go hand in hand with the investment of money, creation of awareness, and sensitisation amongst various target groups for a practical application. Hence, lack or insufficient capital and required human skills for any innovation can collapse Ghana’s vision of technological innovation.
To conclude, though gradual, technology improvements in Ghana continue to increase. Ghana is shaping the future by embracing technological progress and digitisation. Therefore, this can promote significant growth and must be given high credence in the planning and designing of development programmes. Ghana hopes to be a self-sufficient, middle-class economy through advanced technological innovations and improvements in the next decade.