Propelling Ghana into knowledge-based economy - World Bank’s Assessment

BY: Dr Edwin Acheampong
Propelling Ghana into knowledge-based economy - World Bank’s Assessment
Knowledge management is critical

For countries in the vanguard of the world economy, the balance between knowledge and resources have shifted so far towards the former that knowledge has perhaps become the most important factor determining the standard of living…today’s most technologically advanced economies are truly knowledge-based” (The World Bank).

The assertion that knowledge can be managed must not precipitate any form of doubt among readers who have read at least one of my write-ups on Knowledge Management.

I would like to reiterate that knowledge can be managed, much in the same way as we manage any type of resource or factor of production. Knowledge as a factor of production is acknowledged by the World Bank, and the world body believes knowledge has become the most important determinant of standard of living.

The World Bank has translated this belief into a grandiose plan to help countries transition into the knowledge economy; an economy that is shifting the basis for economic activity from material and labour inputs to knowledge and information input.

Assessment

A World Bank’s Knowledge for Development Policy Workshop (KDPW) held between May and September 2002 for Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda, enabled a knowledge economy benchmark assessment of Ghana and the other countries.

Inputs received from participants formed the basis of a Preliminary Knowledge-Economy Assessment of Ghana Report issued by the World Bank in September 2003.

A preliminary observation based on data analysed, including the Human Development Index (HDI), showed that Ghana had had a steady growth in human development and per capita income over 20 years, but its growth performance could have been improved.

The report revealed that Ghana risked falling further behind because it was not exploiting its potential and was not tapping into global knowledge.

Ghana was urged to continue to build conditions for the more effective creation, access and use of knowledge, while at the same time taking practical steps, driven by knowledge initiatives, to stimulate new forms of income generation.

In particular, the report encouraged Ghana to raise awareness among policymakers, the private sector and civil society on the challenges and opportunities of the knowledge revolution.

Localising global knowledge economy agenda

Ghana may not have come out of the Knowledge for Development Policy Workshop held in 2002 with a mindset to consider and implement the recommendations of the World Bank, but some modest strides were made after the workshop.

A dividend from the workshop was the drafting of the National Information Communication Technology for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD) Policy document in June 2003.

It is a policy document intended for the realisation of the vision to transform Ghana into an information-rich knowledge-based society through the development, deployment and exploitation of ICTs within the economy.

Given the myriad of factors against Ghana as a developing economy, the country cannot afford the huge financial outlay that will attend any attempt to implement all the recommendations of the World Bank to transition Ghana into the knowledge economy.

The reality of lack of informed leadership and lack of support from the government, development partners, and other stakeholders for local initiatives to create knowledge-based economy awareness are two stumbling blocks that confront Ghana as attempts are made to localise the global knowledge economy phenomenon by taking small steps at the individual and organisational levels

However, the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) is uniquely positioned to support a Public Sector-led Knowledge revolution through a knowledge-based economy localisation concept which leverages ICTs in the public sector.

With leadership support, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) can begin to consciously manage their knowledge resources by deploying a host of Knowledge Management techniques and practices, including Communities of Practice (CoPs), Knowledge Harvesting, Before- and After-action Reviews, and Knowledge Repositories.

Dividends from these practices will transform public service delivery and turn MDAs and MMDAs not only into knowledge seekers but learning organisations where employees have easy access to requisite knowledge and know-how and stimulated learning spirits.

Knowledge Kinetics Organisation (2KO) appeals to the government, development partners and relevant stakeholders to support Knowledge Management initiatives for public depends on consciously exploring and exploiting local and global knowledge across all the productive sectors of the economy while encouraging innovation and creativity.

The writer is the CEO of Knowledge Kinetics Organisation (2KO).
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