At a public lecture on the impact of the Government’s digitalization initiatives at the Brekuso Campus of the Ashesi University, in the Eastern Region, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia revealed that the Ghana Card will soon be recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as an e-passport by the first quarter of next year.
Ghana Card as e-Passport – What this means
What this means is that Ghana Cardholders can now travel to 197 ICAO countries and 44,000 airports across the globe.
“This means that by the end of the first quarter next year, the Ghana Card will be recognised globally as an e-passport,” Dr Bawumia said.
Also, Ghanaians in the diaspora holding the Ghana-Card would not need Visas to travel into the country.
“Therefore, the good news to diasporan Ghanaians is that when the Ghana Immigration Service is linked to the NIA architecture, diasporan Ghanaians who hold the Ghana Card should not have to obtain visas to travel to Ghana,” Bawumia said.
“We expect this to be operational by the end of the first quarter of next year,” Bawumia further added.
According to Dr Bawumia, once the process is complete, an official ceremony would be held in the headquarters of ICAO in Montreal, Canada, to sign Ghana’s Certificate of Authority that will recognize the Ghana-Card as an e-passport in ICAO countries. This development officially makes Ghana the 79th member of the ICAO Public Key Directory.
Currently, the Ghana Card has become the prime means of identification and the sole document required for the ongoing national SIM Card registration which ends in March, 2022.15 million Ghanaians have so far been enrolled unto the Ghana Card with the government’s hope to reach the majority of the population by the March 2022 deadline.
Other Future aspirations
During the lecture which centred on the topic “Using Digitalization to Transform an Economy-The Ghana Story,” Dr Bawumia noted that the Ghana Card as an e-passport formed just a fraction of the government’s digitalization efforts.
The government, therefore, plans to venture into such spaces as artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“Having put together these large databases as a result of digitalisation, our focus would now turn, inter alia, to data analytics through big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning to provide solutions to many challenges we face,” Bawumia said.
“We will leverage on the progress we have made with digitalisation to drive innovation for the youth,” Bawumia further said.
As Ghana and the rest of the world embrace the new era of the digital revolution, it creates an enabling atmosphere for the youth to become digital entrepreneurs, which requires little to no money to start an effective business.
To fully grasp the magnitude of this digital revolution, the statistics below may offer some perspective.
• 4.66 billion people around the world use the internet in January 2021, up by 316 million (7.3%) since this time last year. Global internet penetration now stands at 59.5%.
• There are currently 4.20 billion social media users around the world. This figure has grown by 490 million over the past 12 months, delivering year-on-year growth of more than 13%.
• On average, more than 1.3 million new users joined social media every day during 2020.
The digital revolution has been sped up by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such the youth must quickly embrace this new era of change in order to move beyond becoming employed for a minimum wage.