Africa should focus on digital economy and innovation – Kamala Harris

The Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, has urged African countries to prioritise digital economy and innovation in order to transform their economies.

Speaking at a public lecture in Accra on Tuesday, March 28 as part of her 3-day visit to Ghana, Vice President Harris said digital services are essential to the transformation of modern economies, stressing that digital economy is an “area where we must together make progress”.

“Whether you are a student relying on virtual courses, a farmer relying on an app for an early warning about an extreme weather, or a small business owner looking to sell goods online, digital services are essential to 21st century economies,” said Kamala Harris.

The United States Vice President was impressed by strides being made by some African countries in digital innovations, noting that “there are places on the continent of Africa, that lead the world in digital solutions”, a claim Ghana’s Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has often made, referencing some of Ghana’s digital initiatives such as biometric identity system, medical drone delivery and mobile money interoperability as a world leader.

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Kamala Harris, however, lamented the lack of progress in some parts of the continent and called for expansion of digital infrastructure to ensure growth.

“There are other places on the continent that lag behind. Expanding access to the Internet drives growth and creates opportunities for innovation.

“Once people are online, they have access to education, greater access to information and greater access to financial services.”

Ghana is highly regarded as a leader on the African continent as far as digital economy and innovation.

Ghana has developed a world-class national biometric identification system, and it has become the foundation upon which the nation’s successful digitisation was built.

Almost all of government’s services have been digitised, including passport applications, birth registry, services at the harbour, registrar general, and DVLA, as well as an integrated digital payment system – mobile money interoperability – which has significantly boosted financial inclusion.


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