Ghana, like the rest of the world, wants to take advantage of this new era of disruption, ensuring that we move beyond simple connectivity and toward sustainable growth, measurable job creation, and an inclusive future.
We want to be a country where our people are digital citizens, our workforce is digitally skilled and empowered, and our youth enjoy the transformative benefits of employment in a new world of work.
To see this come to light we need to take advantage of the fast paced technological revolution as the world is entering the 4th Industrial Revolution.
What is the 4th Industrial Revolution?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) marks a new era of technological innovation, one that is improving interpersonal interactions between humans and machines, opening up new market opportunities, and boosting growth across the world economy. Propelling the 4IR forward is the advances in digital technologies — artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotics, additive manufacturing (3D printing), the Internet of Things (IoT), distributed ledger technology (DLT) or blockchain, and quantum computers. This revolution is already changing everything: the way we work and go about our day to day activities. It is all around us, from self-driving cars and drones to virtual assistants and software that translate or invest. This modern technology has made possible new products and services that increase the efficiency and pleasure of our personal lives. Ordering a cab, booking a flight, buying a product, making a payment, listening to music, watching a film, or playing a game — any of these can now be done remotely.
Why should Ghana be concerned about this new era?
Though Africa hasn’t seen a tremendous growth in digital transformation as compared to the developed and developing countries, there has been some improvement in Information technology in some areas in Ghana. Failure to recognize and capitalize on 4IR potential, will expose African stakeholders to significant risks: African firms risk slipping farther behind if they don’t try to break free from established traditional methods of innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital growth. The 4IR will undoubtedly transform the business world, hence the urgent need for educational reforms to keep pace with the trends.
One challenge for Ghana as the world approaches the Fourth Industrial Revolution of artificial intelligence, robotics, and the internet of things is to equip its youth with the knowledge and skills they will need in the new world of employment. As more and more global companies seek to obtain the widely reported benefits of AI, the demand for professionals skilled in data science, AI and advanced analytics has grown exponentially. In Ghana, this demand far exceeds supply, leading to a particularly severe digital skills gap.
In order to bridge this gap, we need to equip the youth with emerging technology skills and promote critical thinking and creative learning in school curriculums. Students should be able to access industrial case studies to get a sense of what it’s like to learn in the workplace. Lecturers should allow dissenting perspectives on ideas or viewpoints, and students who dare to think creatively and not copy their lecturers’ notes should be encouraged.
For developing countries like Ghana, the digital transformation process is a huge challenge. Nevertheless, It offers the opportunity for transformation, growth, and improvement, for both governments, organizations, and professionals. In more ways than one, the 4IR is a solution and a tool to be used so that the world of work is holistic and valuable to all.