General News of Wednesday, 11 September 2019
The Majority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has called governments in Africa to invest in the promotion and use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) as a tool to develop rural communities.
He urged policy makers across Africa to help transform the lives of their citizens through the building of infrastructure that will assist in the sphere of information transmission and also help rural dwellers to take part in the democratic process in their countries.
The Suame Legislator made this call when he chaired a workshop at the 50th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa Region Conference held in Zanzibar, Tanzania on Tuesday under the theme: ‘E-Parliament :Seamless Platform for Facilitating Democracy.’
Speaking on the topic ‘Enhancing ICT Use in Providing Life Changing Solutions in Rural Communities’, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said governance is about development hence ICT usage in rural communities should aim at improving rural economy.
He added that if agriculture is enhanced it would then feed the agro-based industries which would be sited in the rural areas.This, he stressed, would ensure equitable development of a country ,including the provinces ,regions and districts as well as the various components and settlements within the districts. ICT would promote the marketing of the produces of the farms and prevent gluts.
According to him, ICT must be considered in the sphere of education to bridge the rural urban divide which can reduce rural-urban migration. He also added that governments should facilitate the expansion of agriculture through modern ways to boost the rural economy.
The Majority Leader, who is also the West Africa Representative of CPA Africa Region-Executive Committee, mentioned that the building of infrastructure such as the extension of electricity, issuance of passports and Health Insurance cards at the local level which are quite common in Ghana help to enhance the lives of citizens for rapid development.
“This resort would tremendously impact the living conditions of the rural dwellers and, to a large extent, abate the phenomenon of rural -urban drift,” he added.
“In Politics, ICT is affecting the rural economy and we should aim at helping the polity of citizens to make informed choice and not be crowded out by our more fortunate brothers and sisters who populate the urban communities,” he said.
He went on to urge African leaders to back ICT usage by “deliberate policy from the top” adding that the policies should aim at women and persons with disabilities.
The Commonwealth Parliamentarians from across Africa discussed the impact that new technologies and e-platforms can have on democracy and help to increase the better functioning of various Parliaments in Africa.
The President of Zanzibar and The Chairman of Revolutionary Council, H.E Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein in a handshake with Speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania, Hon. Job Ndugai at Madinat Al Bahr Business and Spa.
The Conference held from 30th August to 5th September,2019 was hosted by the Speaker of Zanzibar House of Representatives and CPA Zanzibar Branch President, Hon. Zubeir Ali Maulid, who welcomed Speakers, Deputy Speakers and Members of Parliament from about 18 CPA branches across the Africa Continent.
The Conference was officially opened by the President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council, His Excellency Dr. Ali Mohammed Shein.
Speaking on the theme, he said “promoting the use and application of ICT by developing E-Parliaments in our countries is a vital step towards enhancing the three core functions of Parliament namely, legislation, representation and as well as the power to oversee various government organs which legislators simply call oversight.”
He further called on members to invest in the promotion and use of ICT in local communities, with initiatives like the E-Parliament to assist in promoting democracy, reports Power 97.9 FM’s Princess Arita Anim.
Rt. Hon Justin Muturi, MP, the chairperson of CPA Africa Executive Committee and Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya in his welcome address urged members to adopt best practices from various legislators, particularly on the issue of information sharing and dissemination.
Among other Speakers were, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania, Rt.Hon. Job Yustino Ndugai; MP,EXCO International Chairperson and Deputy Speaker(Cameroon)Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka; and the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Rt Hon. Martin K. Ngoga.
The CPA International president and Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Hon. Rebecca Atiwala Kadaga also attended the CPA Africa Regional conference. She also highlighted the Uganda Parliament’s hosting of the forthcoming 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in September 2019.
Ghana’s delegation that made it to the Conference were the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Wusu; Deputy Majority Leader and Mp for Dome Kwabenya, Lawyer Sarah Adwoa Sarfo; Minority Leader and Mp for Tamale South, Hon. Haruna Iddirisu; MP for Trobu, Hon. Moses Anim and MP for Manhyia North, Collins Owusu Amankwah.