The government’s digitalization push has failed to transform; now it’s cynical – Bright Simons


Bright Simons, Vice President of IMANI Africa, has poked holes in the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) much-touted digitalization plan, claiming that activities handed out as part of the effort are poorly thought out.
He called the government’s digital changes “non-transformative, flawed, and cynical.”
Bright Simons, citing the Ghana card, SIM re-registration exercise, GPS addressing system, and medical drone delivery, among other policy initiatives, said that given the incoherence and disintegration in the various policy initiatives, it has become clear that the government’s massive push for digitalization is primarily for commercial gain and not for the public good.

“There are some shining points, but it isn’t transformative as a whole.” It’s actually extremely problematic in several ways. Because it’s so hyper-branded and the political stakes are so high, there are times when I’m afraid.”
“I believe policy consistency is crucial, and there are inherent conflicts that drive scepticism in these large-scale projects that we’re discussing.” It’s almost as though they’re acting with good intentions. There are other instances in this digital agenda where, if the Vice President, his advisory team, and the government were truly committed to digital transformation, they would not conduct things in this manner in terms of objective and actual practice,” Bright Simons said.
The Akufo-Addo government has implemented digital initiatives including as mobile money interoperability, digital renewal of National Health Insurance, and installation of the digital address system, among others, spearheaded by Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

According to the ruling New Patriotic Party, several of these have considerably improved Ghanaians’ economic and social lives.
But Bright Simons isn’t buying it, claiming that the Vice President’s push for a digital economy is purely political.
“Unfortunately for Vice President Biden, we have plenty of evidence to cast doubt on his commitment.” However, by questioning the commitment, we hope for a shift in policy. I was rather taken aback when it became evident that Dr. Bawumia was using this to appeal to a younger audience in order to establish a fresh narrative that would set him apart from other politicians, and although this is not necessarily a negative thing, I felt misled. It was merely political spin, rather than a true commitment to a program of leveraging digitization to transform Ghana, as Bright Simons pointed out.