Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s tireless digitisation efforts received an external mark of approval after The Standard, Kenya’s finest and largest daily, described it as worthy of emulation.
Dr Bawumia held a sit down interview with the publication during his recent trip to the East African country to witness the inauguration of new Kenyan President, Dr William Ruto.
Following the interview, editors of the publication praised Ghana’s digital revolution and called on Kenya and the rest of the continent to follow in Ghana’s footsteps, writing that Ghana’s indefatigable Veep is leading a “digitization footprint that Kenya and Africa can emulate “
During the interview, the Vice President succinctly stated the need for a digitized economy in the modern world.
“In Ghana, we have really focused on pursuing digitization as an economic strategy. When you look at the world, we are now in the fourth industrial revolution globally which is a digital revolution. It is a revolution that is based on data, and systems. If you are an economy in this world and you don’t digitize you are going to be left behind. Africa has been left behind for too many of these periods, and I believe that digitization is a key to leapfrogging.
“We digitalize not for its own sake but to solve problems, formalize and build a more inclusive economy, deal with corruption and to provide services to our people more efficiently from the government side,” Dr Bawumia said.
Elaborating further, Dr Bawumia outlined the steps taken by the ruling NPP administration to usher Ghana into the digital world as part of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
“A lot of people were excluded from the economy so we did digital IDs for our people, so we have unique identities for everybody. Once you have unique identities for everyone you will not have ghost workers on the payroll and also sort the voter registry.
“We had an issue with the address system in Ghana, and through digitization, we solved the problem. Every part of the country, land or water, mansion or shark you have a unique digital address that we have rolled out in the country. This has solved a big problem as now deliveries can easily be made through e-commerce, and in the instance you are applying for a job you can easily state your address,” Dr Bawumia said.
“On financial inclusion, we have implemented mobile money interoperability. It is not just operability between the mobile companies, but interoperability between the mobile wallet and a bank account which means that every mobile money account practicably has a bank account. We were the first country in Africa to do so. Today it is very easy for someone to open a bank account in Ghana, you have your national ID card, you get onto your mobile phone and then dial a USSD Code and you chose one of the banks and there you go, you have a bank account.
We have integrated all our databases which enables us to get value out of our digitization process. Digitization is the way to go for other African countries and with it, we can leapfrog other advanced countries. Today in Ghana, we are the largest medical drone delivery service in the world. We have drones flying all over the country, today we have 100 flights a day delivering medicine.” he emphasized.
The wide ranging interview touched on many other topics including Bawumia’s thoughts on The Africa Free Continental Trade Area (AFCTA).
“People like Kwame Nkurumah were a bit ahead of their time with their vision as they held a view that Africa needed to be cooperative and united which is today being manifested. AFCTA is the biggest free trade area in the world. It is important that Africa trades by itself as we have largely traded with our colonial masters. AFCTA is an idea whose time has come and Ghana is the secretariat hence we are very passionate about it. There are a lot of opportunities and potential to realize.” He began.
“The bottlenecks to be experienced is logistics and transportation. Another challenge will be payments, but recently I launched the Pan African Payment and Settlement Systems (PAPS) in collaboration with the Central Bank which allows someone from Kenya to buy something in Ghana in Kenya Shillings without the need to worry about a third-party currency like the US dollar to trade. This is a major innovation that will help us bridge the gap that we have in the payment and settlement area.
“It is important that we open up the skies. It should be an open sky policy and build up the infrastructure links across the countries. I believe we have the opportunity and the ability to make it happen to realize the dreams that our Nkurumahs and Kenyattas had.” Bawumia said.
Touching on President Ruto’s inauguration, the former deputy Bank of Ghana governor said the peaceful transition of power was an important success story not only for Kenya but for the entire continent of Africa.
“It was a very successful event not just from my perspective but also from that of Ghana. It is just not a Kenyan success story but an African success story to have a peaceful transition of power. We remember the old days of difficult transitions and since we have embarked on the democratic journey, every step and milestone is important.
“I congratulate him (President Ruto) on his victory and inauguration. I want to wish him very well, this is a major task and a major burden but God will see him through. He is a very smart man, he has been a deputy president for a while and he knows what to do. We are praying for him and wishing him the very best and we are looking forward to what he does for Kenya.” Bawumia said.
Dr Bawumia and second lady Samira Bawumia visited Kenya on Monday, September 12th 2022 to witness the inauguration of Kenya’s new leader, Dr William Ruto, on Tuesday September 13th.
In a related meeting, Second lady Samria Bawumia also met with the newly inaugurated Kenyan first lady, Rachel Ruto.