A development planner and consultant to SMIDO, Nyaaba-Aweeba Azongo, has said digitalization is not a development policy as is currently being construed in Ghanaian political circles.
He explained that digitalization, like any form of technology, are planning tools often employed to enhance development policy programmes and therefore cannot on its own be a substitute for the complex exercise of development planning policy.
Expressing his views on the two major policies; digitalisation and 24-hour economy, which are currently being debated by the front-line political parties ahead of the 2024 general election, he said it is important for Ghanaians to draw a distinction between a development policy and a planning tool.
He said planning as an art, had its own peculiar goals often christened in professional planning circles as ‘Romantic Goals’.
These goals are: efficiency, effectiveness, convenience, comfortability, flexibility etc.
“Against this background any tool that was invented and could be deployed to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, convenience, comfortability among others, in any existing activity or integrated into a development policy planning deliverables were considered as planning tools and not development policies, he explained.
Mr Azongo argued that it would therefore be inaccurate to describe these tools as development policies.
On the issue of the 24-hour economy development policy, Mr Azongo said “ it is the most ambitious and overarching development policy proposal since the inception of the Fourth Republic. What remained, however, was the planning and political commitment for a departure from the existing leadership order, to raise the standard of political policy-public engagement.”
He said the visible landmark of leadership crisis, symbolic mediocrity and proletarian pride in the crumbs of wealthy nations amid abundant resources, provided a justifiable basis for more of such ambitious cutting-edge policy proposals and commitment for a new Ghanaian leadership order.
“I must emphasise that apart from the cutting-edge 24-hour Economy Development policy proposal, the maze of promises and manifestoes throughout the Fourth Republic are best described as ‘Little drops of water not capable of forming a development ocean,” he said.
He stated that irrespective of any argument on the existing leadership order from any political lenses in the fourth republic there was one consensus, which was poverty.
Mr Azongo said poverty was widespread and pervasive in Ghana, especially among its youthful population.
He said the policy would require a Multi-Sectoral Planning Framework to build consensus and enlist lessons from successful models across the world as well as factor Ghana’s peculiar context to adopt a 24-hour development policy Model unique to the country’s economy.
He added that, there was a need for more ambitious policy proposals from all the political parties considering that the country’s development was at the crossroads of a critical turning point.