Africa must adopt technological approach in response to global economic crisis – VP Bawumia

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Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has said the ongoing economic crisis sweeping through the world must be a wake-up call to African countries to adopt a technological approach to development, especially as the continent seeks to rebuild and rise.

Addressing a high-level African Union-backed “BOMA” event, the Vice President cautioned against focusing on the short-term symptoms of the current crisis and forgetting the structural issues that the worst-hit countries are confronted with.

The Boma forum brought together global political and business leaders to deliberate on the progress of Africa towards Agenda 2063, the AU’s timetable for transforming Africa into a global economic force.

Vice President Bawumia said the twin factors influencing the global economic crisis – the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Ukraine conflict – have exposed gaps in the world’s economic and political architecture, which will affect Africa’s quest for growth if the continent does not act decisively to build technological industries that are more resilient to global economic shocks.

“The challenges that have beset the global economy may have been fuelled by temporary crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict. But these challenges are still a wake-up call to Africa that there are deep structural gaps in the global economic and political architecture that can frustrate its rise unless serious concerted efforts are made to plug them,” Dr. Bawumia told the forum.

Dr. Bawumia observed that plugging the structural gap will require the African continent to adopt the emerging data-driven, technological approaches to development, which would help create the right structure for African businesses and SMEs and connect them from isolation, to the world of business.

Dr. Bawumia noted that Ghana has chosen to take a path to economic development marked by increasing technological, especially digital, content in its development programs.

Responding to Meta’s (corporate parent of Facebook) President for Global Affairs and former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Sir Nick Clegg, Dr. Bawumia conceded to certain ongoing challenges to optimally harness data, talent, and improved regulations to advance the course of technological advancement in Ghana and Africa.

He however insisted that these matters are being given the necessary attention.

“We are very mindful of these potential pitfalls and are investing in both the institutions and infrastructure that will enable us to both leapfrog our infrastructure and education system limits and rapidly advance the regulatory capabilities we need to deal with complex challenges like balancing sovereignty and efficiency, as we become a data-driven economy,” the Vice President said.

While acknowledging efforts some African countries are making in adopting technology-driven development, Dr. Bawumia also shared with the forum some specific areas Ghana has invested in, and how they are expected to boost commerce.

“We have successfully developed a new identity infrastructure that will transform credit scoring for SMEs, remove the bottlenecks in e-commerce, and lay the ground for the modernization of business supportive government services,” he said.

“We have totally transformed the financial technology landscape and reworked our mobile telecom industry to enable us to take advantage of the 5G revolution and the internet of things as they gather pace.”

The Boma of Africa (www.africaboma.com) was organised jointly by the African Union, the AfCFTA Secretariat, the Africa CDC and AfroChampions with support from Afreximbank, Ecobank, IC Publications, the Village Foundation, BADEA, Orango and MTN.

Convened at the highest level, the Boma seeks to move beyond mere deliberations and instead to delve deep into actions that can inspire Africans in various fields such as science and technology, education and creative arts to hone talents for Africa’s common good.