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More budgetary allocation needed for research — NITA to ICT companies
Richard Okyere-Fosu, Director-General, NITA

More budgetary allocation needed for research — NITA to ICT companies

The Director General of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), Richard Okyere-Fosu, has called on companies in the ICT space to invest in research, scholarships and award schemes at the various institutions of higher learning.

He said that would help produce the kind of skill set required to power the ICT industry and also support the government’s digitisation agenda.

Speaking at the 2023 Tech Job Fair, Mr Ofosu also urged the companies to provide internship opportunities for ICT students and graduates for them to gain the practical skills required to work in the industry.

He also called on the academia to consult the ICT industry, especially in their curriculum development for technology-related programmes and adopt a more dynamic framework in the review of the course content for continuous improvement.

“We on the side of the government will also have to look into what kind of incentives we can put in place for businesses that collaborate with academia and have special budgetary allocation to help train our young graduates.

He said the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation was in the final stages of drafting and adopting the Digital Economy Policy Document which had skills development as one of its pillars.

“The objective of this pillar is to ensure that we are able to develop the right kind of skills to support our digital economy and emerging technologies,” he stated.

Torch bearers

Mr Fosu said the country stood out as one of the torch bearers when it came to digitalisation in Africa, with the government investing a lot of resources in digitalising the economy.

He noted that the private sector had also equally invested in technology, infrastructure, and people to also digitalize their business processes to interface with government systems.

“As much as digitalisation propels our development and offers opportunities to leapfrog most of the challenges we face as a developing country, it also comes with great risk if we don’t manage the process well and put the right structures in place.

“One of the areas of concern is the calibre of human capital and in the right numbers to support the digitalisation agenda.” he stated.

Pathway out of poverty for youth

In her keynote address, the Founder and Executive Director of Women’s Haven Africa, Adwoa Fosua Owusu Ofori, said digital jobs were the pathways out of poverty for the youth in Africa.

She said the digital economy had enormous potential for creating formal jobs for historically marginalised youth.

“These 'digital jobs,' which are defined as any short-term or permanent positions that use information technology to deliver a product or service, are in the formal sector and thus, provide higher wages and long-term job stability, both of which are critical mechanisms for people to work their way out of poverty.

“In Ghana's IT Enabled Services (ITES) Secretariat programme, for example, youth wages are 5.5 times higher than the official minimum wage,” she stated.

She said formal employment was also less volatile than informal work, resulting in greater income stability and job continuity.

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