Saturday, 13 April

Day 1: Ghana Digital Innovation Week attracts over one thousand participants

Technology
A still from the Ghana Digital Innovation Week (GDIW) 2023 event in Accra city

The opening ceremony of the Ghana Digital Innovation Week (GDIW) 2023 today attracted more than one thousand participants from the country’s digital innovation ecosystem.

The majority of the participants were drawn from Ghana, It also attracted participants from Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, Rwanda, and Iraq. 40 exhibitors showcased their digital innovative products and services, while over 40 sessions on digital innovation would be held.

A wave of technological advancements

Speaking at the opening Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Madam Ama Pomaa Boateng said she was inspired by the wave of technological advancements and the growing culture of innovation in our nation.

“Our commitment to harnessing the power of technology for the betterment of our society is unwavering”.

Madam Boateng noted that the digital world is evolving at an unparalleled pace. “We need to adapt, embrace, and, more importantly, lead this change”.

She acknowledged that Ghana has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to leveraging technology to solve local challenges, emphasizing that the country’s strides in e-governance, e-commerce, fintech, and various other sectors are commendable, but there’s so much more to be achieved.

Ghana Digital Economy Policy

That is why we have developed the Ghana Digital Economy Policy which is to be laid before Cabinet for approval. This policy is building upon the foundations laid by the ICT for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD) policy developed in 2003, Madam Boateng told the participants.

This forward-looking policy according to her zeroes in on vital areas including digital infrastructure, data-driven innovation, entrepreneurship, data protection, user privacy, cybersecurity, digital literacy, and skills.

“It is a comprehensive approach that ensures inclusivity and economic growth for all. Today, we stand at the cusp of a new era, an era that beckons us to think bigger, aim higher, and dream beyond conventional boundaries.

It’s a time for us to dive deeper into the realm of innovation, explore emerging technologies like AI, blockchain, and IoT, and utilise these tools to reshape industries, transform governance, and elevate the standard of living for all Ghanaians”.

Collaboration

She said collaboration lies at the heart of their success, while no single entity or organization can undertake this journey alone.

“It’s only through pooling our expertise, resources, and experiences that we can create sustainable and impactful solutions”.

She therefore urged all stakeholders, government, private sector, academia, and civil society to come together, share knowledge, and build bridges that connect ideas to actions.

“Today, we are privileged to stand united with international partners like the World Bank, GIZ, MARHAV, and the Embassy of Israel, among others who have been instrumental in supporting our digital initiatives.

Their knowledge-sharing, technical expertise and collaborative efforts have been invaluable in propelling our digital landscape forward”.

She said collaboration is the cornerstone of progress, and it is through partnerships that they can accelerate their journey toward a digitally inclusive society.

In this vein, Madam Boateng assured that the Ministry with the invaluable support of GIZ and the World Bank, has established a Donor Coordination Group dedicated to harmonising the diverse activities within the ICT sphere.

“This platform serves as a pivotal nexus for all our esteemed partners, offering a unified space to synchronize our initiatives, consolidate resources, and amplify the impact of our combined endeavours”.

Invitation

She extended a wholehearted invitation to all development partners actively engaged in the ICT sector to join this collaborative group at their earliest convenience.

“Your participation will be instrumental in shaping the transformative path ahead for our nation’s digital landscape. By uniting our strengths and expertise, we can forge a more efficient and effective journey, ensuring that every initiative undertaken resonates with the vision of a digitally progressive Ghana”.

Together, they can amplify their impact, share best practices, and co-create solutions to address the challenges that lie ahead. Their participation in this endeavour will mark a pivotal moment in the journey toward a more technologically advanced and prosperous Ghana.

Theme of GDIW 2023

Touching on the theme of GDIW 2023: ‘ Innovate, Collaborate, Elevate: Shaping a Future of Endless Potential’, the Deputy Minister indicated that the theme for this event is not just a collection of words.

“It embodies the spirit and essence of our collective journey toward a future where endless possibilities await. It speaks of the imperative to innovate to continuously push the boundaries of what’s possible.

It highlights the importance of collaboration recognising that no single entity, individual, or innovation stands alone in this rapidly evolving digital landscape. And it emphasizes elevation as the continuous upward trajectory of progress and development that we seek for our nation and its people.

Goal

Elevation, the goal, is not just about progress but ensuring that the benefits of innovation and digitalization are inclusive and reach every corner of our society.

Madam encouraged the players in the digital innovation ecosystem to strive to ensure that no one is left behind in this digital transformation journey.

To this end, she said Ghana is embarking on a journey where technological advancement isn’t a luxury but a right for all.

Bridge the digital divide

“We strive to bridge the digital divide, ensuring that every Ghanaian reaps the benefits of the digital age. The Ghana Digital Acceleration Program (GDAP), the Ghana Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion Project, and the Girls-In-ICT programme amongst others have become important moves to bridge the digital divide and not leave anybody behind”.

As the digital innovators and partners continue to invest in technology and innovation, they should remember that the true measure of their success lies in the inclusive and equitable distribution of its benefits, driving Ghana forward as a beacon of progress and prosperity, Madam Boateng advised.

Remain vigilant

She also reminded them to remain vigilant about the ethical implications of technology as they innovate, they must do so responsibly, ensuring that the benefits of technology are harnessed for the collective good while safeguarding against potential pitfalls.

She further urged all stakeholders, innovators, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and technologists to engage actively, collaborate proactively, and innovate relentlessly.

“Let us leave this week inspired and determined to be the change-makers who will drive Ghana’s digital revolution”.

Ramona Simon, Acting Head of Development Cooperation German Embassy in Ghana assured that the German government would continue to support Ghana in its effort to grow its digital innovation industry.

The Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, H.E. Shlomit Sufa, used the occasion to remind the participants about the ongoing conflict between her country and Hamas.

What is GDIW

The Ghana Digital Innovation Week (GDIW) is a nationwide series of events aimed at showcasing and celebrating milestones in the country’s digital innovation ecosystem.

The GDIW allows various actors to learn, share ideas and create networks to enhance and propel the growth and development of Ghana’s digital innovation sector. This year’s GDIW began with regional events in Tamale, Koforidua, and Kumasi, all in the Northern, Eastern and Ashanti regions.

By involving participants from across the country, GDIW aims to promote discourse on enhancing digital literacy and adoption, particularly in remote areas, among others.

The GDIW is co-created and co-owned by actors from the private sector, academia, policymakers, Development Partners, and Civil Society Organizations with support from the Digital Transformation Centre, a project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The GDIW is also held in collaboration with MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation through the Embassy of Israel in Ghana, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, and the Ministry of Communication and Digitalization.

Source: africaneyereport.com