AMA to deploy digital services to improve operational efficiency

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Story Reported by Gideon Kotey 

Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mohammed Adjei Sowah has announced plans to deploy digital services more robustly in the development of the City.

According to him, the AMA would soon automate services such as waste collection, marriage registration, outdoor advertising, permitting among others and was poised to use additional tools to provide smart services to the people of Accra.


The AMA boss disclosed this on Wednesday at the maiden edition of the Africa Digital Forum (ADF), organised by AIDEC Consultancies International Limited in Accra under the theme: 'The Digital Challenge: Africa's Opportunity Under AfCFTA’. 


The AMA boss who spoke on the topic "Developing Accra as a smart city, the way forward" noted that the AMA recognises the vast investment by the government in developing digital infrastructure hence plans to develop the city's ICT  hub for digital skills training and entrepreneurial innovations, develop Accra as a tech hub to promote the use of smart devices, technologies and applications for industrial use across Africa, build Smart Housing for low-income communities with facilities for recycling community wastes into vital productive use. 


Other areas of interest he said include building the robust digital infrastructure for providing quality basic education, and resources for basic life-long learning, including the creation of virtual libraries as being initiated by the Ghana Library Authority as well as to promote digital tourism and take full advantage of Accra's tourism potential,  digitise real-time economic and neighbourhood data generation for smart surveys and decision making,  monitoring and evaluation of the Cities' programmes and projects. 


He also disclosed that the AMA was in the process of building a coordinated virtual platform to enable citizens to transact business with cities' authorities in Accra and promote participation in local governance. 


"This we have piloted through the use of our social media handles and found very interesting feedback. A trotro App has also been developed to tap into the commercial urban transport sector and just yesterday GIZ launched a Flood and Disaster Risk App for the city of Accra...The Accra Metropolitan Assembly is currently working on an Accra App that will be a one-stop-shop for citizen engagement on public services," he said. 


The AMA boss also touched on how his outfit intends to leverage the national identity card and the national property addressing system for issuance of permits, licenses, business registration and certificates, and create virtual malls as marketplaces to market Accra.


Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister For Communications And Digitalisation, in a speech read on her behalf said the Ministry was championing governments Digital Agenda and had prioritized five thematic areas namely digital infrastructure & connectivity, digital skills, research & innovation, digitalisation of postal and courier services, data protection, privacy and trust for digital networks and services as well as legal, regulatory and policy framework to enable the Ministry track the progress in the next 4years.


She noted that some technological systems and platforms implemented by the Ministry include the National Identification System (Ghana Card), digitization of records, digital payment platforms, mobile money interoperability and cyber security amongst others.


She also stressed the need to systematically create opportunities for home-grown start-ups in the space, to create value and wealth for our people and establish strategic alliances within the Trade Zone to take full advantage of these opportunities beyond digitalisation. 


She called for the collective development of Africa to ensure progress and sustainable livelihoods and was hopeful that the Forum would help ignite new debates and expand discussions around digital development in Africa. 


Prof Alex Dodoo, Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority  in a presentation on "E-Commerce, Cross-Boarder Trade Protocols & Standardization Under AfCFTA" disclosed that the development of global standards for e-Commerce was at relatively early stages, adding that" AfCFTA offers the tech sector in Africa to take leadership in the development and deployment of these global standards."


He pointed out that Intra-Africa trade would be boosted using "leapfrogging approaches" and called on Governments, standards bodies, industry regulators, and stakeholders to collaborate to create jobs.

 Africa's father of the Internet, Nii Quaynor who spoke via a virtual platform also called for formal training for computer professionals.


"Professionals e.g. lawyers, doctors are trained hence wonder why one would imagine computer professionals without formal training. We ought not to confuse skills with education as skill can make you do things with tools, but we make new tools... In a thought experiment, we may wonder how many among us know how to write programs? " he said. 


He underscored that AfCFTA would do well when more companies and government websites engaged in online commerce and stressed the need for African countries to take advantage of advances in cryptocurrencies and blockchain and issue an AU coin to fund Africa agenda 2063.


Editor: Nii Amon 
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