Robust national agenda needed to accelerate development of technology for the ageing – speakers at 2022 WTISD

Robust national agenda needed to accelerate development of technology for the ageing – speakers at 2022 WTISD

Speakers at this year’s celebration of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) in Ghana have called for concerted efforts backed by a robust national agenda to accelerate the development of digital technologies for older persons and healthy ageing.

According to the UN World Population Ageing Report, there were 703 million persons aged 65 years or over in the world in 2019 and the number is projected to double to 1.5 billion by 2050.  In Ghana, the population of people aged 65 years and above increased by 0.51 percent in 2021.

To this end, there’s a need for innovation aimed at improving upon the existing technologies to aid the aged stay healthy, said Director-General of the National Communications Authority Joe Anokye during a celebration of the 2022 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day themed ‘Digital Technologies for Older Persons and Healthy Ageing’.

Assuring that the NCA will through the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation continue to anchor policies tailored to bridge the digital divide and support the country’s socio-economic development, Mr. Anokye acknowledged what he described as “vast potentials” for the development of advanced technological interventions to improve autonomous living and mobility in older persons, and a happy, healthier ageing.

The Deputy Communications and Digitalisation Minister, Ama Pomaa Boateng who was representing the sector minister, touted government’s efforts in bridging the country’s digital divide, noting that: “These foundations are being laid for digitalisation to thrive and support services which will enhance healthy ageing”. Again, these initiatives will facilitate a digitally supportive environment that sustains the functional independence of our older populace,” the deputy minister added.

“Through these, we have seen some service providers providing e-health services and e-commerce in the country. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) have also been adopted locally in our health, agriculture, business and education systems,” she said.

Nearly half of humanity still has no access to the Internet – a situation the UNESCO representative in Ghana, Abdourahamane Diallo, said needs to be addressed with all the urgencies that can be mustered; thereby calling for deliberate, collaborative efforts in ensuring that technology is “equitable, safe and affordable for all people and all ages”.

“We must connect everyone and everywhere by 2030 because leaving no one behind means leaving no one offline,” he charged.

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