Use Agric Digitization to Leapfrog Africa’s Development
Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia
Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has called on African leaders to use digitization, especially in the area of agriculture, to leapfrog the continent’s economic development.
In a speech read on his behalf at the opening of the 2019 African Green Revolution Forum, (AGRF), in Accra, Dr. Bawumia said the digital age presents another opportunity for Africa to fast forward its development especially in agriculture.
He said African governments however need to show political will by investing in digitization and creating the enabling environment for the effective application of innovation.
“It is more about the vision and political will, it is also about our enterprise to innovate,” he said.
Touching on the theme for the four-day conference, ‘Grow Digital: Leveraging Digital Transformation to Drive Sustainable Food Systems In Africa’, Dr. Bawumia noted that nearly every country in the world has gone through an agricultural revolution on the path to its economic transformation adding that Africa will be no exception.
He said although Africa must take the same journey it should not take the same path as the Continent can do it more effectively and in a sustainable manner by building on local realities, lessons from the past and from elsewhere and through innovations.
Dr. Bawumia said the adoption and application of digital technologies in agric such as registration inputs, distribution, market information, soil and farm mapping, extension, advisory services, irrigation system management, real time weather forecast, surveillance at sea and the forest areas is a key indicator of Africa’s economic transformation.
“It is refreshing to note that already there are many African countries like Rwanda, South Africa, Mauritania, Senegal, and Kenya firmly on the path of digitization and are reaping the associated benefits,” he said.
The Vice president said Ghana has also started benefiting from digitization of its economic sectors adding that the country is recording increased revenue from its ports as well as e-commerce due to the successful implementation of its digital policies.
He said AGRF 2019 thus sets the stage for Africa to pull together stakeholders in the agribusiness sector to discuss how policies can be used to sustain the continents agriculture transformation through digitization.
He encouraged participants to look at the barriers that still face many countries in Africa in the use of data and technology, encouraging them to tackle issues like weak infrastructure, inadequate basic literacy and numeracy and the weighing threat of cyber crime and insecurity.
“These challenges highlight existing gaps in Africa’s digitization efforts and they underscore the urgent need for the paradigm shift from the existing manual systems to a regime of digitization especially in Agriculture because of the pivotal role it plays in the economy,” he added.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri