Vice President and Flagbearer of the NPP, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has declared that his objectives as President would include building what he has labelled Digital Ghana, which will be ready for the on-going global digital revolution for an inclusive economic growth in Ghana.
Addressing the nation last night to reveal his own vision and priorities for Ghana, following his election as the new flagbearer of the NPP for this year’s elections, Dr. Bawumia, who has been credited with leading the successful digitalisation of Ghana in the past seven years, revealed a number of policies in other sectors, but stressed on the indispensalibility of a Digital Ghana, which he said will be the anchor, to ensure Ghana is not left behind in technological demands of the modern world.
"I have been doing a lot of thinking in the last few months about the lessons of the last seven years as well as my vision and priorities as I seek to become President of the Republic of Ghana. Clearly, the initial conditions that we inherited in 2017 are not the same as will be in 2025. Therefore, my government will not be pursuing or prioritizing exactly the same policies we have done between 2017 and 2024. We have done many good things and I will be seeking to build on them," Dr. Bawumia explained, as he laid bare his new vision and priorities for Ghana, which he said will open a new door of opportunities for Ghanaians.
"My vision is to create a tent big enough to accommodate all our people, to tap into the resourcefulness and talents of our people irrespective of our different political and religious backgrounds, to channel our energies into building the kind of country that assures a food-self sufficient, safe, prosperous, and dignified future for all Ghanaians, to create sustainable jobs with meaningful pay for all, and for Ghana to participate fully in the fourth industrial revolution using systems and data," he said.
BUILDING A DIGITAL ECONOMY AND MAKING GHANA A DIGITAL HUB
Dr Bawumia stated further that his Digital Ghana vision, is also aimed at applying technology to transform key sectors of the economy including agriculture, healthcare, education, manufacturing, the financial sector for a prosperous digital economy which will make Ghana a digital hub and also create jobs for the youth.
He said: "I want to build a Ghana where we leverage technology, data and systems for inclusive economic growth. I want us to apply digital technology, STEM, robotics and artificial intelligence for the transformation of agriculture, healthcare, education, manufacturing, fintech and public service delivery.
"As part of this process it is my goal to eliminate the digital divide by achieving close to 100% internet penetration. We have already made very significant progress in this direction by increasing internet penetration from 34% in 2016 to 72% in 2023 by more than double.. The task in the next four years is to move from 72% to close to 100%! It is possible!"
Dr Bawumia also revealed that as he aims to build a transformative Digital Ghana, it is important to build digital talents Ghana needs for the digital revolution, and disclosed an ambitious plan to train thousands of youth per year on digital software skills, which will also open them up for the job market both in Ghana and globally.
He said: "I want to see Ghana build the digital talent we require for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This will mean providing digital and software skills to hundreds of thousands of youth, including school dropouts. In collaboration with the private sector, we will train at least 1,000, 000 youth in my term in office. As software developers, our young people will have job opportunities worldwide."
"Generally, there will be an enhanced focus on TVET education. My government will also support the establishment of a National Open Uniiversity in collaboration with the private sector with a focus on technical and vocational skills and ICT.
"To help our youth get jobs, I believe it is time to rethink the concept of our current national service scheme. My government will propose that those who after completion of their education can secure jobs would be exempted from national service. This will encourage companies to go to campuses for recruitment annually."
"To prepare our children for the fourth industrial revolution, I will enhance the repositioning of the education system towards STEM, robotics, artificial intelligence and vocational skills to cope with the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and job creation.
"My government would make coding and robotics standard in senior high school. The foundation is being laid with the provision of laptops to SHS students soon. Teachers have already been given the requisite training . Following the senior high school students, we will also implement a One Student One Laptop policy for tertiary students through the provision of a zero interest loan with a 70% discount on the cost of the laptop, payable over 4 years for tertiary students who need laptop."
ENCOURAGING A MINDSET OF POSSIBILITIES
Dr Bawumia stressed that in order for Ghana to move forward, there is the need for the country to inculcate a mindset of possibilities, and eschew pessimism, which he said, is often due to political differences, adding that Ghana has the potentials, and has showed in many ways that we have what it takes to be world beaters, hence his government will
"We must have a mindset of possibilities and not impossibilities," he said.
"The challenges we must overcome as a country are too important to let our political differences derail us. There is a critical failure of mindset that manifests itself in the absence of core values, patriotism and principles within our society. We need to invigorate the can-do-spirit of the Ghanaian to believe that we can even do better than ever imagined, if we put our minds to it," he added.
He said: "For example, our students from Mamfe Girls and Prempeh College have won international robotic competitions against their peers in the US, Germany and South Korea. We must apply the same mindset of beating the world in robotics, Sing-a-Thons and Cool-a-Thons to every sphere of activity. We must believe IT IS POSSIBLE!
"This must be inculcated in our children from home and in school. This is why we are going to introduce a growth mindset curriculum to help students build critical skills such us problem solving, risk taking, opportunity spotting and design thinking."