Data is the secret weapon of digital economy      


By Abdallah Kassim TIJANI

Data has become the secret weapon that has propelled the growth of the digital economy in the current digital era. Much like oil was formerly thought to be the lifeblood of countries, data is currently the most important component in driving global industry transformation and economic growth. The World Economic Forum estimates that there are 44 zettabytes of the digital universe, 40 times more than the total number of stars in the universe.

During a meeting at work, for instance, when you have data to support your claims and other people have opinions,  you gain influence. In the current digital era, big data and the analytics market are projected to increase in the digital age we live in. Data-driven technologies, such as predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, are redefining the entire industries and developing brand-new business strategies.

It must be noted that data-driven decision-making has become standard practice in the digital economy. Businesses, now more than ever before, are better able to spot patterns, recognise new trends, and make more accurate predictions when they analyse complex data. Due to the rapid advancement of technology and the spread of digital platforms, large amounts of data are produced every second. There is a great deal of promise in this data to spur efficiency, creativity and competitive advantage. It must be acknowledged that as we have seen and experienced with the introduction of forced shutdowns and restricted activity, functioning digitally is the only option to continue in business, and we have seen this phenomenon and experienced it with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Globally, countries that have achieved advanced levels of digitisation have seen significant improvements in their public sector performance as well as their economies and communities.

Ghana’s progress

While other developing countries are still having difficulty navigating the transition to the digital economy, Ghana’s experience has been very inspiring. For example, the Ghanaian Government set up an ICT centre here in Accra in 2016 to provide IT-based solutions to industries. Ghana has also established itself as a hub in Africa for artificial intelligence (AI) and Fintech innovation. And on climate-related technology, Ghana is leading the way in West Africa, creating an enabling environment for electrical vehicles, charging stations and other technologies. Again, the current government has also started a digitalisation initiative that is improving efficiency and transparency while changing the way it provides services. Some of the fantastic initiatives are the roll-out of the Ghana Card, the Ghana Government’s payment platforms, the digital address system, mobile money interoperability and the Universal QR Code.

Challenges and opportunities

The digital economy offers a wealth of opportunities, but it also brings with it its own set of challenges. From data privacy to cyber-security, the digital divide needs to be addressed in order to promote inclusive growth and protect individuals and businesses from potential risks.

Governments and policy-makers have a key role to play in creating an environment where the digital economy can flourish. Investing in digital infrastructure and education, as well as skills development, is necessary to close the digital gap and enable everyone to take part in the digital economy.

To this end, the digital economy has emerged as a new source of economic growth, stimulating innovation and increasing productivity. Much like the oil-driven industrial revolution, the digital economy is ushering us into a new era of connectivity and inclusive growth.

The writer is a Financial Data Analyst, ABI & Partners Consulting Ltd. Email: [email protected]

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