Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has called on African leaders to leverage technology to build their economies.
The Finance Minister entreated African leaders not to assume that the digital economy has become a thing of the past.
“We must be careful not to make the fundamental mistake of assuming that the knowledge-based digital economy is a thing of the past. I’m confident that we can leverage opportunities that technology presents to finally realise the objectives of AfCFTA, the attainment of broader and deeper economic integration that will attract investments, reduce poverty and provide jobs,” the Finance Minister encouraged.
Mr. Ofori-Atta made the remarks during a Business and Policy Dialogue, dubbed, 'The Kwahu Summit on Africa's Prosperity', organized by The African Prosperity Network (APN) in collaboration with the Presidency and the AfCFTA Secretariat, on January 28, 2023.
He anticipates that Africa’s GDP will grow by 8.8% by 2050 if its digital economy which is on a crescendo is sustained.
“Digital economy is here, and it is here to stay. The IFC and google estimate that by 2025, the digital economy could contribute a hundred and eighty billion a year to the African economy. Increasing to seven hundred and twelve billion a year by 2050. Assuming GDP growth is sustained at 45% a year by 2025. The digital economy will effectively represent 5.9% of African GDP growing to approximately 8.8% by 2050.
“Across the African continent, the relentless spread of network sensors at which intelligence and automation are already driving a revolution, the same revolution is happening here at home in Ghana,” Mr. Ofori-Atta remarked.
He charged established businesses and young start-ups to penetrate the technology markets.
“We are at important crossed roads and remain little doubt that our adoption of new technologies will prove fundamental to our economic growth. As we work towards dealing with the head and tail wings that have rocked us over the last couple of years. It is not just the fiscal and monitoring interventions of governments in the micro-economy that will steer us out of the storm. But the penetration of technology and entrepreneurial innovations by established businesses and young start-ups and government’s commitments to digitisation and technological innovation as a policy priority,” he urged.
He further charged African leaders and businesses to use technology as a key driver to the success of AfCFTA, urging them to take hold of the opportunities digital technologies offer.
The Finance Minister further entreated African leaders to leverage modern technologies to tackle administrative delays and bottlenecks that characterise collection and transfer of public revenue.
“It is important for us to look at technology as a key driver to the success of AfCFTA. We must maintain the resolve to ensure that the immense opportunities that the digital technologies offer us are realised and made available to all. Additionally, we must ensure that we leverage modern technologies to tackle administrative delays and bottlenecks that often characterise the collection, lodging and transfer of public revenue. We know tax mobilisation is relatively low across the continent.
According to him, knowledge, skills, entrepreneurship and a robust digital system are needed to advance Africa’s continent.
“Knowledge, skills, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship underpin by functioning and robust digital systems will be the launch pad for our continent’s advancement and success,” Mr. Ofori-Atta noted.
He stressed that, “the time has come for a continent wise-strategic of ensuring that Africa’s digital trade and innovation landscape is sufficiently supported to contribute to our growth and eventual structural transformation”.
The Finance Minister said failure of African leaders to rally for strong local development of digital technologies will prevent them from developing their economies.
“Payment systems remain a crucial part of Africa coming together and a key aspect of whether AfCTA is going to represent. The harsh reality is that, e-commerce and artificial intelligence continue to buzz around our boardrooms and policy discussions.
“A failure to rally strong support for the local development of these technologies will continue to keep Africa tied to the apron strings of developed economies. Infrastructural development is solely needed, including digital transformation. Through cloud adoption, expanding internet connectivity and developing efficient logistics networks,” he stated.