Prime News Ghana

Ghana secures US$115m facility to digitise public records

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
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A US$115m facility from the International Development Association, a subsidiary of the World Bank, that will part-finance the digitisation of archives and other public records to facilitate online searches has been approved by Parliament.

The demand for digitisation in the development field has grown significantly over the last few years, especially in Africa.

It is to this end that the government has moved for this facility meant to secure additional financing for the e-Transform Ghana project.

Over the last few years, there have been efforts by the government to improve the country’s information communication highway to ensure that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can be leveraged as a tool for sustainable development.

Presenting the report of Parliament’s Finance Committee on the facility, its chairman Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah said the additional funding will complete the digitisation of archives and other public records, thereby facilitating online searches.

He also added that it will help increase internet bandwidth for government use, including for district health centres and hospitals.

Touching on the importance of the facility at a time the country is grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Assibey-Yeboah said the facility will be the driving force behind the country’s eHealth strategy, which will provide a direct boost to COVID-19 preparedness through support to telemedicine, mHealth and associated capacity building.

“Due to the viral outbreak and the need to stay at home, most people and institutions have resorted to the use of the internet for their activities, thereby putting an increased strain on the country’s internet capacity,” he said.

The New Juaben South MP also enumerated the benefits of the facility for the educational sector, saying campus WiFi networks will be provided at two new universities and additional internet bandwidth provided for universities to facilitate online teaching and learning.

“The depth and potential impact of digitisation is huge. The digitised records will reduce errors and transaction costs in public administration. They will also improve government accountability and the quality of national statistics,” he said.

“Eventually, digitisation will support more timely and accurate access to a country’s Open Data Portal. Digital public records data from different government entities could be integrated, and eventually the government will provide more seamless and efficient public service delivery,” he added.