Editorial: Talking digitisation…


The Republic Bank and the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) held a breakfast meeting on Tuesday, June 22 themed ‘Digitisation, Artificial Intelligence and Future of Things: The impact and immense opportunities for Ghanaian businesses’, with the verdict that the coronavirus pandemic has provided an opportunity for businesses to be innovative and change their old of way of doing things.

Whether the pandemic eases sooner or later, the reality is that it has changed and transformed the way business is done across the world by accelerating digitisation.

Managing Director of Republic Bank Ghana, Farid Antar, however noted that digitisation is not an event or a project that can be executed in a day or a short period, but is a continuous process over a period of time.

He added that the banking sector has come to the understanding that it needs to partner data organisations to make good use of data – indicating that though the banks have a lot of data, other non-bank entities also have data and even use it better than the banks, which necessitates such partnerships to deliver better solutions.

Panellists agreed that going forward the usual way of carrying out business will become obsolete; hence the need to quickly adapt to the changing environment in order to satisfy customers’ needs.

For his part, CEO of Reset Global People, Kwame Opoku, believes that for the digitisation drive to be successful, there is a need for clear government policy to guide the process and encourage it across all sectors.

Indeed, policy is one of the bottlenecks we have. Also, for the transformation to be far-reaching it is important that both businesses and consumers have a good understanding of the tools used, in order for the system to be successfully implemented.

Another panellist, Ernestina Appiah, CEO-Ghana Code Club, in buttressing the point observed that literates or those who have had a university education or other college qualifications are able to know and depend on social media to market their businesses.

However, market women and those in the indigenous market setting should be to be able to learn how to actually have an online presence for the transformation agenda to be impactful. These appear to be the gaps which have to be filled for the digitisation agenda to really take hold of the economy.

That said, the pandemic has been a blessing in disguise as far as digitisation is concerned.

Editorial II: New trends in technology bound to boost agribusiness…

With new trends in the technology space, tech analyst and President of Hacklab Foundation, Foster Awintiti Akugri, is advising government to be innovative in its tax policies targetted at the agricultural sector to rake in needed revenue.

Changing trends in the technology sector are seeing agribusiness fetch billions of dollars for advanced countries, and he believes the country can take a cue from this development.

Akugri is of the view that a developing country like Ghana can generate enough revenue from agribusiness through the use of technology, if the right tax policies are formulated by government to help industry players.

Taxes evolve, so there are new forms of taxes that are created with the advent of technology; and this is an area Mr. Akugri believes government can look at in order to broaden the tax net.

Speaking at the maiden edition of the digital conference powered by the B&FT and Republic Bank, Mr. Akugri maintained that interest in the agriculture sector will see a boost if deliberate tax policies are outlined by government to give incentives for farmers vigorously deploying technology to increase production.

He is of the strong conviction that Ghana may be forced to still rely on food imports if steps are not taken to encourage usage of technology in the agriculture sector to guarantee yields. For example, there is technology to test soil fertility and nutrients in the soil that will guarantee a good output.

We must therefore begin to invest in technology by creating the right tax policies for agribusiness.

Farmers are beginning to reap the benefits of using apt scientific approaches. Information technology is playing a key role in enhancing agricultural production in Ghana.

New, smart agribusinesses are enhancing agricultural value chains. Farmers are provided with marketing opportunities that help them link their products with potential customers.

All these go to show that technology is driving all aspects of economic development, and there is a bevy of opportunities to be had from technological adoption – including the introduction of specific taxes and tax exemptions where necessary.

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