Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Monday said Africa's budding youthful population whose exuberance and ingenuity is challenging stereotypes and everyday conventions is the secret weapon to accelerate economic growth and industrial transformation.
He, therefore, urged African tech-entrepreneurs to take advantage of the challenges posed in the various sectors of the economy- education, banking, agriculture and industry, health and infrastructure- to create solutions that would meet the demands and desires of consumers.
He noted that the world was undergoing the Fourth Industrial Revolution and technology is driving the business environment globally, therefore it was prudent for African governments to form partnerships with the private sector to solve the needs of their people.
He also urged African governments to harness the creativity and ingenuity of the growing technological phenomenon to accelerate economic growth and improve the lives of their people, noting that, technology had changed life dynamics across the world.
Vice President Bawumia said this at the opening of the Third Africa Leadership Conference, christened "Africa Rising" held on the theme: "Technology Trends Versus Consumer Choice- Who's Determining the Future?"
The two-day event was organised by the International Advertising Association (IAA), in collaboration with the Advertising Association of Ghana (AAG), which attracted business leaders, advertisers, marketers and brand managers across the globe to brainstorm on advertising strategies and leverage on technology to solve societal challenges.
Vice President Bawumia said Africa should no longer stand on the sidelines of development, awaiting donor support, but should become the centre of rapid innovation and adoption of technology.
Throughout history the African Continent had been described in unflattering terms, such as the "Basket Case", "the Dark Continent" and other negative descriptions.
However, things are changing for the better with multi-party democracy gradually entrenching in most parts of Africa while most of the fastest growing economies in the world are currently found on the Continent, he noted.
President Nana Akufo-Addo had unwavering belief that Africa was capable of rising to take its rightful position in the comity of nations, and that motivated him to fashion a "Ghana beyond Aid", which is also an "Africa Beyond Aid" towards industrialsing and transforming the economy, Dr Bawumia added.
He said Government viewed technology as a critical problem-solving tool to drive economic growth and societal development, therefore on assumption of office in 2017, it had rolled out a number of digital initiatives to improve efficiency in service delivery and eradicate corruption as well as break-away from the mindset of impossibility to possibility.
Some of the technological-driven initiatives included; the national identification system, digital property addressing system, e-Justice system, e-business registration, paperless ports system, e-smart driver's licence and mobile money interoperability platform to enhance financial inclusion of Ghanaians.
The Vice President said Ghanaians are now experiencing the benefits of digital services, which is gradually transforming the national economy and improving efficiency of many government agencies and cited the piloting of the electronic payment platform of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, which increased its revenues by four folds.
He said government would turn all the old post offices into internet service centre to enable people to receive efficient services and announced that by June next year, government would go cash-lite and would no longer receive cash payment for any government services.
Vice President Bawumia said the path Africa had chosen in reaching her full potential would not be an easy one and, thus, urged business leaders attending the conference to play a distinctive role towards the revitalisation of the Continent.
"The Transformation story needs to be told because it is in telling our stories then we will appreciate how far we have come, the challenges we've overcome...it is in telling our story that we uncover the opportunities ahead of us...let not the "Africa Rising" story be an event or only nurturing entrepreneurship and good governance but ensure more inclusive policies that open the pathways and platforms for development of many," Dr Bawumia stated.
Mr Srinivasan K. Swamy, Chairman and World President of the IAA, in his welcome address, expressed concerns about the various data protection laws being implemented globally to protect consumer privacy, citing the European Union's Data Protection Regulation, which came into effective in 2018.
Some of the concerns he raised include the enforcement of the data protection legislation that would restrict accessibility of certain critical information about corporate entities and individuals regarding drafting advertising messages.
He, therefore, called for a fair balance between protecting consumer privacy and advertising so that it would not have negative effects on the advertising industry.
The International Advertising Association was established in 1938 to shape public opinions, promote growth, creativity, professionalism, education and advocacy.
It is currently operating in 56 countries worldwide.