Technology crucial to Accra’s continued development

English: Photo of the Independence Arch in Acc...

English: Photo of the Independence Arch in Accra, Ghana, built to commemorate Ghana’s independence. The national motto, Freedom and Justice is boldly inscribed at the top of the arch. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ghana is often seen as a shining example of democracy and progress in Africa and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. A recent report from IBM, A Vision for Smarter Growth, has highlighted the importance of technology in the West African country’s continued economic progress and urban development. The country faces significant challenges having experienced significant demographic growth and rapid urbanisation in recent years and the IBM report highlights how technology could help the country overcome these.

The report highlights a couple of areas in which mobile technology could help. The potential use of mobile phone data could offer an accurate insight into how people currently move around the city and enable town planners to enhance the city’s current transport system. In addition, mobile payments could help the city’s residents pay tax more easily as well as highlight any underpayments or fraud.

Africa is the fastest growing mobile Market in the world, and Ghana is at the centre of innovations within the technology and mobile markets. IBM and Airtel have recently joined forces to open a Mobile Centre of Excellence in Ghana, which is the first of it’s kind in West Africa. The new facility aims to offer students access to cutting edge mobile technologies to drive innovation across Ghana in mobile services and applications. Two more centres are planned for Kenya and Nigeria later in the year.

The use of mobile technology to assist in Accra’s rapid urbanisation is an excellent example of how mobile can assist in ways far beyond simple calls and Internet access, and demonstrates the technology’s versatility. In addition, IBM and Airtel’s partnership in developing centres of mobile innovation across Africa should help Africa’s continued innovation in mobile and demonstrate the continent’s technological potential.

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