We need standards to govern e-commerce under AfCFTA — Prof. Dodoo
Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority, Professor Alex Dodoo, has said that e-commerce, under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), must be governed by standards.
As such, he said, there was the need for the development and implementation of the technical regulations of such standards.
Speaking at the Africa Digital Forum, which was organised by AIDEC, he said there must be a conscious effort to standardise e-commerce trading in the continent. He was speaking on the topic: “e-commerce, Border Trade Protocols and Standardisation under AfCFTA”
This, he said, would help make locally produced materials and goods more competitive, as compared with products from other continents.
He said the governments within the AfCFTA should standardise e-commerce to ensure that member states do not feel short-changed when trading among themselves.
Prof. Dodoo noted that the International Standard Organisation Technical Committee was working on a draft document on transaction insurance in e-commerce to help protect online consumers.
He urged the government to join in such efforts to help enhance the country’s e-commerce industry.
Positioning Ghana on global map
The Chairman, AIDEC Board of Directors, Professor Robert Yennah, in his welcome address, said ICT regulators and professionals, stakeholders and academia, must all come together to support the government’s drive to position Ghana on the global map of digital technology.
He said AIDEC Consultancies International Ltd was championing digital technology with a pool of experts ready to work with government and public institutions to facilitate and enhance public service; and with the private sector to accelerate business growth and efficiency.
Across the globe, he said, governments and private sector establishments were racing against time to become more digital, so as to avoid being outmoded or folding up, because going digital was the new norm for doing business and engaging with customers.
“The digital mind-set and technical resources enable the harnessing and use of data to make better and faster decisions in order to grow, blossom and be more profitable,” he stated.
The Director-General of National Information technology Agency (NITA), Mr Richard Okyere-Fosu, in a speech that was read on his behalf, said the country was on a digital transformation agenda, which had seen the digitalisation portfolio added to the mandate of what used to be Ministry of Communications.
He said NITA is the agency responsible for ensuring provision of quality information communications technology.
“Together with standards, we can achieve quality provision of ICT services with experts and competent entities as well as certified hardware and software. As of now, there are no records of the number of persons, IT product suppliers, IT consultancies practising in the country.
“NITA has an online portal registering IT personnel as well as companies, and hereby invites practitioners and entities to be registered for reference for engagement for government ICT product supplies, and services,” he noted.
He said digital transformation was crucial for the realisation of sustainable development goals, stating that “as you recall, Sustainable Goal 17 is about partnerships and NITA intends to collaborate with other regulators to develop and enable cross-sector regulatory high level principles that will fast track the adoption of e-commerce, e-agriculture, e-health, e-education, among others, in fulfilling the SDGs before 2030 and truly realising a digitally transformed country.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Mr Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah, for his part, said the assembly was poised to use available tools to provide smart services to the residents of Accra.
He said the assembly would leverage the city’s slum and innovation centres to attract investments in the city to enhance Ghana’s status as the financial and commercial heartbeat of Africa.
The Mayor said his outfit was working with the Ghana Tourism Authority to build a robust digital system for promoting the Ghanaian cultural system and Accra’s tourism potential.
He added that the Assembly would also leverage the National ID card and the National Property Addressing system for the issuance of permits, licences, business integration, among others.