Editorial 2 : ICT driving economic growth amid COVID-19

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Photo: AI-enabled health technologies. Credit: NaijaGrove

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the information and communication sector has been the fastest growing sector during the pandemic era.

Data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) have shown that the information and communication sector maintained its position as ‘new driver of the economy’, recording an impressive 74.2 percent growth in the second quarter of 2020; albeit slightly slower than the first quarter’s performance of 77.4 percent.

Compared to the pre-pandemic performance of the sector’s growth at 67.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, electronic data has been driving the ‘new normal’ ever since the pandemic arrived.

Zoom conferencing has become the norm, as annual general meetings, conferences, workshops and other training programmes have all moved online, while private schools and tertiary institutions are all learning online.

Despite the information and communication sector’s impressive growth, the pandemic’s impact forced the economy to contract in the second quarter. GDP for the second quarter contracted 3.2 percent, largely driven by the hospitality sector’s abysmal form.

That notwithstanding, we can look on the bright side of things and realise that government’s digitisation agenda has been given a further boost by the pandemic’s onslaught. In fact, it has demonstrated to all and sundry that migrating to a digital economy is within reachm and is not so far-fetched as some would have us believe.

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention; and in our adversity we managed to keep the economy afloat by employing digital solutions to mitigate the pandemic’s most severe impacts on the economy as a whole.

The ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, as described by World Economic Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab, is characterised by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds. This transition is in turn driving the transformation of everything from retailing procedures and corporate organisation to how we plan our cities and cure our sick.

Currently, as a result of the widespread introduction of various types of information and communication technologies in workplaces, and the widespread use of Internet opportunities in common life such as various payments via mobile phones created for the population, show that the electronic information system affects all sides of life.

Ghana cannot be left behind, and that is why government is so passionate about its upscaling of the electronic information system.

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