By Gifty Arthur
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of Africa Mobile and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Exhibition (MOBEX), has reiterated the need for government to prioritize technology by fast-tracking the proposed establishment of Innovation Fund, to completely harness the potential the industry has.
Spencer Quaye, argued that there was a lot the country can derive from the sector, but adds that until government pays critical attention to it, it will be difficult to realize it full benefit and potential.
“Mind you technology is the biggest sector now, it’s creating more jobs than any other sector with the exception of farming, and even with farming, if you want to increase your yield, increase productivity, you cannot do without technology.
So our focus is, to knock at the door of government to put in much more support, much more commitment and we want to see the establishment of the innovation fund with some alacrity. We want it established now so that many people who are struggling, can access it”, Mr. Quaye said.
He made the observation at the opening ceremony of this year’s Africa ICT EXPO last Monday in Accra. The 2-day conference and exhibition, assembled captains, investors and enthusiasts of the ICT industry, as well as all things and everything technology.
Mr Quaye, said it would be most appreciated if President Akufo-Addo, made good his promise to establish the Fund, saying the coming into being of it, will encourage the youth to embrace ICT fully and also explore the sector for the benefit of the country.
“We travel across the country to identify talents and we bring people to come and exhibit and we can tell you, there are a lot of young guys doing wonderful stuff in their small villages and in their small corners, all they need now is some support.
MOBEX, will give them the exposure and the platform, but government will have to give them some support, some commitment and we believe that in the next two to three years, if government is able to establish the innovation fund, we are talking about having the Irokos of Nigeria in Ghana, we are talking about having probably the biggest and largest tech development in Ghana”.
Participants, who are Mobile technology lovers, students and professionals, device manufacturers, telcos, regulators and policy makers, are mainly the youth, who were drawn from parts of Ghana and other parts of Africa.
“We are hoping that as we discuss them ….basically we are trying to have the culture of innovation among Ghanaians and then we want Ghanaians to start thinking technology as solutions and then we want that solutions commercialized.
The most critical thing for us this year is the fact that is to have enough government support and commitment”, he said.
According to Mr. Quaye, such support will enable the youth, who are very committed but lacks the necessary push, will be able to find solutions to “our socio-economic challenges” that confront the country.
We have seen governments over the years showing some commitment towards development of technology in the country. I think that government has done quite well, but we believe that government can do better. Last year, one of the things we proposed at MOBEX 2016, was the fact that there is the need for Innovation Fund.
We are grateful president Akufo-Addo, has been talking about establishing an innovation fund, we believe that it will go a long way to unearth talents, it will go a long way to put Ghana on the map with regards to technology, it will go a long way to create a lot of jobs.
The deputy minister of Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah, said the government acknowledges the importance of technology and was committed to use it for the development of the various sectors of the economy.
Mr Ahenkorah said, “we are prepared to do even far more to ensure that reforms actually result in a strong, positive, productive and competitive response from the investment community and the private sector, both foreign and local.
The deputy minister, said there are a good number of programmes and projects which are being rolled out by government which have everything to do with technology, listing some of them as the digital address system, national identification card, Accra Digital Centre established last year, among others.
Mr Ahenkorah, who after the opening ceremony inspected and interacted with some of the exhibitors said, “We recently set up a 100 million-dollar package to fund the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan, NEIP, which will provide technical and financial assistance to young entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses”.
He continued that, the Trade and Industry ministry is also, “Implementing the 10 key points agenda for industrial transformation and it is my opinion that, the role ICT plays in these programmes, cannot be underestimated and would therefore advise that you may explore opportunities that exist within these initiatives to collaborate with industry in developing technologies that would enhance their efficient operation”.