With the increasing infusion of digitalization into the provision of Government services and everyday life, with plans to adopt the highest levels of data security in the provision of such services, Ghana is well on its way to becoming the first blockchain-powered government in Africa and one of the very few in the world, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has announced.

“We are going to adopt blockchain technology for government to ensure that all data and transactions in the Government space are transparent and tamper-proof, no one can change them, and so ours could well become the first blockchain-powered government in Africa” the Vice President stated in Accra on Thursday, 9th May, 2024.

Dr Bawumia gave the indication of a brighter, safer digital future for Ghana when he gave keynote remarks at the 14ths Commonwealth Regional Conference and Annual General Meeting of Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa being held in Accra. Representatives of 20 African countries, as well as global anti-corruption bodies are attending the conference, according to the organizers.

“About 99% of all government agencies (1507 out of 1517) have been onboarded onto the Government digital platform Ghana.gov, with the remaining 1% set to be completed by the end of the year” Dr Bawumia said adding, “Access to almost all Government services can be accessed electronically, with payment also made electronically, no cash. Ghana.Gov has collected GHC 201 billion for government so far. In the past, a portion of this revenue would have ended up in individual pockets, but computers do not demand or accept bribes. Digitalization has thus plugged leakages in Government revenue by eliminating the corruption involved in cash transactions.

“For Ghana, our next stage of the digitalization journey is to complete the integration of our databases through the X-Road Integration infrastructure as done in other countries such as Estonia. We will then apply blockchain technology to all of government, for the rapid and immutable identification of modifications in digital data and intelligent devices.

“We are moving towards blockchain because technology because blockchain technology makes it possible to discover any and all changes made to digital data, no matter how small, no matter by whom, we will find it immediately.

“So the blockchain practically blocks corruption, and this is where we are headed to, so that you can track and trace all transactions across the Government space and this is a very very effective tool.

“Our goal is to make Ghana the first blockchain-powered Government in Africa and one of the few in the world. We believe we can be the first in Africa to do so” he declared.

Vice President Bawumia bemoaned the devastating effect of corruption on Africa, with experts estimating that the continent has lost at least one trillion US Dollars ($1trn) over the past five years through corruption and illicit financial flows, while a significant percentage of persons of people who have contact with a public official will pay a bribe or will be asked to.

“Corruption is costing us a huge amount of money and depriving us of the lives we deserve”, he noted, and called for more investment into the acquisition of digital tools to fight the corruption eco-system as a whole.

While noting the huge strides made in Ghana’s fight against corruption, including the issuance of a unique identity card and address for all Ghanaians and resident foreigners in Ghana, Vice President Bawumia called on African governments to make a deliberate effort to holistically invest in acquiring the necessary tools to fight crime and cross-border corruption.

“The next stage in fighting corruption in an age of sophisticated Artificial Intelligence-enabled cybercrime is for anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies to invest in digital forensics and tools that will enable our various countries to track, trace and disrupt the entire corruption value-chain. It is time that anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies acquire customised security operation centres purposed towards fighting corruption networks.

“In Ghana, by digitalizing the processes for accessing public services and reducing to the barest minimum the human interface along the chain, we can and we are reducing the opportunities to demand for and collect bribes in the public sector. Again by digitalizing payments for public services, we can and we are reducing the incidence of revenue leakages. And finally by rolling out appropriate digital platforms and systems we can and we are beginning to disrupt the networks working in concert to facilitate acts of and distribute the proceeds of corruption.

“My charge to us all, is to leverage all these to track, and trace and disrupt the entire corruption value chain and to give our continent a fighting chance against poverty and under-development. It is my hope that together, we will continue to defeat corruption in Africa in all its forms.”

Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM