Digitalisation and its impact on the Real Economy in Ghana

On 19 April 2023, researchers from various institutes organised an online workshop on the topic of „Digitalization in Ghana“ with the aim of reflecting on the role of digitalisation and its impact on the real economy.

The workshop took place within the framework of the joint research and consultancy project „Megatrends Afrika“ by the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) in cooperation with the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET).

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The workshop dealt with the opportunities and challenges of digitalisation in Africa with a focus on the transformation towards sustainable economic growth, the needs of SMEs and their strengthening, but also the distribution of the „digital dividend“. To start-off, two experts presented current research findings. The first presentation, entitled, „Digitalisation for Economic Transformation in Ghana“, discussed results of a survey among Ghanaian SMEs. Entrepreneurs identified high operating costs and the need for infrastructure investments as core problems. Survey participants see a strong need for additional and alternative financing in the ICT sector. The second input „Products and Partnering in Ghana – Empirical Findings for Social Media, Mobile Money and Online Banking“ looked at the role of mobile money and online banking as buffers during economic shocks. The study identified a positive impact of online banking tools, but an uneven distribution along gender lines.

The discussion further evoked possible solutions to some of the challenges mentioned. These included the need for cooperation between public and private actors, but also the appeal to political decision-makers to create a reliable framework to facilitate access to investment and digital infrastructure. Participants agreed to pursue the discussion in future formats. Some of the core finding will inform a Megatrends Afrika working paper.

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