Nyaaba-Aweeba Azongo, a development planner and consultant to SMIDO, has emphasised that digitalisation should be viewed as a planning tool rather than a stand-alone development policy, cautioning against misconceptions prevalent in Ghanaian political circles.
According to Mr Azongo, technologies like digitalisation serve as instrumental tools to enhance the planning of development policies, programmes, projects, and activities.
He emphasised that these tools cannot replace the intricate process of development planning policy.
Mr Azongo shared his insights during an interview, responding to questions about the 24-hour economy proposal and digitalisation, two major policies put forth by frontline political parties in anticipation of the 2024 elections.
He stressed the importance of distinguishing between development policies and planning tools, noting that planning has its own specific goals, often referred to as 'Romantic Goals' in professional planning circles, encompassing efficiency, effectiveness, convenience, comfortability, flexibility, and more.
Mr Azongo commended the 24-hour economy development policy as the most ambitious and overarching development policy proposal since the inception of the 4th Republic in Ghana.
However, he underscored the need for planning and political commitment to bring about a departure from the existing leadership order, aiming to elevate the standard of political policy-public engagement.
Mr Azongo expressed concern about the prevailing leadership crisis, symbolic mediocrity, and proletarian pride in the midst of abundant resources, emphasising the urgent need for a new Ghanaian leadership order.
He acknowledged the widespread and pervasive poverty in the country, especially considering the rising youthful population and the lack of corresponding opportunities to ensure a sustainable future free from debt, unemployment, diseases, and cyclical poverty.
Mr Azongo called for a multi-sectoral planning framework to support the 24-hour economy development policy, advocating for consensus-building and drawing lessons from successful global models while tailoring them to Ghana's unique context.
He urged all political parties to propose more ambitious policies, recognising that Ghana stands at a critical turning point in its development.
Highlighting Ghana's demographic shift from 6 million at independence to over 30 million today, Mr Azongo emphasised the need for innovative policies to address the demands and hopes of the quadrupled population, referring to it as "4-Ghana" on top of the foundation inherited at independence.
In his view, ambitious policy proposals are crucial for navigating the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the country's developmental journey.