ECOWAS Speaker Lauds Govt For ICT Devt

The ECOWAS Speaker (left) with his hosts

The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, has lauded President Akufo-Addo for leading Ghana’s efforts to accelerate “developmental policies in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, which have impacted positively on the overall growth of the Ghanaian economy.”

“Today, Ghana has become a major ICT hub in West Africa. The decision by technology companies to situate their continental headquarters in Ghana, does not only demonstrate the effort of the government in bringing the country into the global future, but also reveals the conducive business environment in Ghana that is attracting these ICT giants,” Dr. Tunis stated.

Addressing the opening session of the ECOWAS Parliament’s delocalised meeting of the Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Legal Affairs and Human Rights, and Telecommunications and Information Technology in Winneba in the Central Region yesterday, Dr. Sidie Mohammed said “recently, Twitter announced Ghana as its first African destination, and we are sure that more will follow. This is laudable and a feat that can only be beneficial to the rest of the region.”

The five-day meeting is under the theme: “The Role of Telecommunications and Information Technology (TIT) in Achieving Regional Development, Peace, Security and Human Rights.”

It was through the lobbying prowess of the NPP MP for Effutu, Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin, who doubles as the Deputy Majority Leader, that the ECOWAS programme was held in his constituency in Winneba.

The ECOWAS Speaker however, indicated that despite these positive steps in Ghana, the sub-region as a community still has “so much to do in optimising the gains of ICT.”

“Our continent and in particular our region is still lagging behind as this sector remains largely under-tapped. Today, virtually all advancements in the developed countries are tied to the strings of innovations derived from ICT,” he noted.

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, indicated that cybercrime and the insecurity in the maritime space in the Gulf of Guinea were issues that required immediate attention.

“For this reason, countries in the sub-region through data collection and data sharing are strengthening their collaboration and existing co-operation with international agencies such as International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the West Africa Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) in order to combat cross border crimes and terrorism,” he stated.

Speaker Bagbin noted that the West African sub-region is confronted with various challenges such as drug trafficking, child trafficking, proliferation of and trafficking in small arms, organised crime, and money laundering.

Mr. Afenyo-Markin, who is Ghana’s representative at the meeting, underscored the importance of Telecommunication and Information Technology.

“We live in the age of revolutionary Telecommunication and Information Technology. This is the age where doctors perform invasive but critical life-saving surgeries remotely with the aid of high-speed internet, computers and advanced medical tools, equipment and gadgets,” he said.

According to him, this is the period where advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have made it possible for some countries to deploy robots, instead of human judges.

From Ernest Kofi Adu, Winneba