BOOK REVIEW: The Enabling Architecture for a Digital Economy


Authors: Kwaku Appiah-Adu & Franklin Asare

Foreword: Rt. Hon. Sir Tony Blair

Publisher: Ace Publishers

Pages: 225


This book could not have come at a better time. It lends a key voice to the conversation on digital transformation in developing and emerging economies, especially from the African perspective. It is a key reference point and inspiration source for the policymakers and economic actors with the power to affect the progressive, sustainable change we all seek. Technology has become a key player in business, education, governance, commerce, security, and even social interactions.

Currently, the digital economy is commensurate with approximately 15.5% of the world’s GDP. Rapidly surpassing the total economy’s growth, it is anticipated to reach 33% by 2033. On the other hand, countries like Ghana are only seeing a fraction of this growth and must make strategic investments in their digital economy to keep pace – the urgency of this is especially exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We cannot pursue a digital agenda without realising the need for digital knowledge and skills development. Against the backdrop of this realisation, the idea for this book, “The Enabling Architecture for a Digital Economy” was birthed. In eight concise chapters, the book defines the building elements required for the digital architecture of Ghana, Africa, and emerging economies. With the book’s combination of academic and practical content, it is an applicable guide for any firm or country looking to make the switch from a conventional approach to a digital one.

The value of the book whose foreword was written by the Rt. Hon. Sir Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and currently Executive Chairman of Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, is demonstrated by endorsements from several eminent citizens of international repute in both the private and public sectors.

FOREWORD – Tony Blair

Since leaving office in 2007, I have spent much of my time in conversation with governments and political leaders round the globe. On my trips to Accra, where my Institute has a very busy office, I have had many very positive discussions with policymakers at the highest levels of government.

Professor Appiah-Adu and I share a belief in the power of technology to transform government, economies and ultimately nations. The challenge for policymakers is to harness the technological revolution to deliver for citizens, rather than be at the mercy of forces outside their control. No easy task, which is why this collection of essays is a timely contribution to our collective efforts.

The past couple of decades have been characterised by the accelerated pace of change driven by digital innovation. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how vulnerable our economic and social structures can be. But it also showed the opportunities: how we can use data to drive a public health response, almost unimaginable a few decades ago, and how connectivity can enable productive work to continue despite restrictions on travel.

Every time I visit Ghana, I am impressed by how quickly these developments are occurring. But there is much still to do, so now is a great time to take on the big questions.

One of those questions concerns the value of data – like many countries Ghana is keen to develop its data economy, but at the same time preserve security, confidentiality, and integrity. Achieving that balance will require a thoughtful approach to cloud and local storage as well as the right data protection policies.

Leadership here matters, just as it does for digital skills, infrastructure, and innovation. This book combines universal themes with practical scenarios from Ghana and beyond, and the examples in these pages can help determine the right national strategies.

I congratulate the authors for their achievement in taking on the most intriguing, challenging, and fast-changing themes of our time. There might never be a final word on questions of technology, but this volume should help us develop the vital conversation necessary for government, between the change-makers and the policymakers.


The book is expertly written, with insider perspectives on the peculiar opportunities and challenges of developing countries on the path of digital transformation. It would surely benefit developing countries that seek to harness the power of digital technology for development.

Dr. Ernest Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana

The digital economy presents a great opportunity for African countries to not only develop new businesses, but to also leapfrog the technological divide to increase productivity and service deliveries in their economies.

Dr. Yaw Ansu, Chairman, Development Bank Ghana; Chief Economist Emeritus, ACET; former World Bank Africa Regional Director.

This is a must-read for policy-makers charged with designing and implementing policies to spur digitalisation of informal economies. Importantly, business executives, consultants, academic researchers and students can rely on this resourceful guide to achieve their pertinent interests in the digital transformation of Africa.

Dr. Evita Grant, Esq., Founder and CEO of TecHustle, Inc.; formerly a lawyer at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, PC.

This book breaks down a complex subject; and by building the blocks of a digital economy in practical and digestible ways makes it a treasure for scholars, policy makers and business executives. It makes a timely contribution to how the fast-evolving digital economy can drive efficiency and accelerate development, especially for developing economies.

Michael Ansah, CEO Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation; Former Senior Vice President, Dell Corporation.

The book lays down the foundational blocks for policy-makers and other stakeholders to quickly grasp the potential of those blocks for a developing economy. Its simplicity of ideas is refreshing and a must-read for those at the heart of driving the transformation towards a digital economy. This is the book to read to see how it all fits together.

Dr. Hene Aku Kwapong, Managing Partner, Songhai Group; former Senior Executive of Microsoft, Royal Bank of Scotland, Exxon Mobil, and GE Capital.

The narrative addresses critical realities from foundational data collection through application platforms and business intelligence to cybersecurity risk. For anyone navigating the rich yet murky seas of broad scope digitalisation that connects the citizen, public and private sectors on a value basis while preserving safety, this book presents fundamental and illuminating insights.

Kofi Dadzie, Co-founder Rancard, Technology Risk Governance Consultant

This is truly a ground-breaking publication from two professionals, both of whom are accomplished in their respective fields. The book’s concept is appropriately placed in the cultural setting of developing economies, thus making it highly relevant to scholars, practitioners and investors in such economies. The Enabling Architecture for a Digital Economy, is a must-read for all who desire to see the developing world competing effectively in the global economy.

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