The Minister of Communication and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu Ekuful has entreated all state bodies to consult the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) before the acquisition of Information Technology (IT) solutions, applications, platforms or devices to ensure interoperability of government architecture, as a means to end the culture of working in silos.
Speaking at a virtual event to launch the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission’s (PURC) Database Management System, the minister said that the nation has established the largest Tier 3 National Data Centre in West Africa, including a backup facility, with adequate capacity to support both the public and private sectors being managed by NITA.
She said the move is to ensure a coordinated intergovernmental system connectivity that would be closely monitored to avert and address breaches quickly.
“The data centre facility is a crucial feature of the e-government communication infrastructure network. This is because the entire government network will be served with e-government applications from this facility, and all the critical equipment and applications will be housed in the data centre as well,” she said.
She explained that, from the data centre, various Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) will be provided with email, antivirus, document management systems and more of such utility applications over time, to ensure structured and simplified workflow between and among the MDAs.
She noted that, data interoperability and quality, as well as their structure, authenticity and integrity are key for the exploitation of the data value, especially in the context of AI deployment and the creation of a data economy.
“Data producers and users have identified significant interoperability issues which impede the combination of data from different sources within sectors, and even more so between sectors. As a prerequisite and as part of our Digital Ghana Agenda, we are embarking on an ambitious infrastructure development programme for the ICT Sector, with a national broadband infrastructure and total connectivity for all the unserved and underserved communities in Ghana by 2023,” she intimated.
She further noted that, as the ministry responsible for driving the digital agenda, the whole country is looking up to them to bring the needed benefits of the digitalisation efforts to enhance public service delivery and user efficiency in the entire public service arena.
This, she believes, would project the country in terms of ease of doing business, better access and reduction in the cost of acquiring these services.
She told the gathering, which was held virtually that: “The huge amounts of data generated as a result of going digital shifts our focus to the emerging trend of big data and analytics. These fields are growing in acceptance and importance and playing a critical role in government’s decision making. There are tools which make it easier for analyzing data and Ghana as a developing nation intends to utilize these tools in our digital journey.”
In the year 2016, the European data economy was valued at €300 billion, worth nearly 2 percent of the European GDP. It is projected to reach €829 billion and to employ 10.9 million data professionals across all sectors by 2025.
While the African data economy is still in its infancy, the continuous growth of local data innovation sketches data’s potential for sustainable economic growth and development. Many have said it is a gold mine that must be purposefully tapped into.