President of Switzerland Doris Leuthard said here late Wednesday digitization through the internet should be democratized to ensure a win-win situation.
Addressing a forum here on the theme “Governance in the Era of Social Media”, Leuthard stressed that this was needed to ensure that many, rather than a few, benefited from the power of the internet.
“Digitization, the rise of social media, has had a radical impact on the economy and society now and the future. The pace of technological change is extremely high that presents us with a challenge.
“For Africa, in my view, it presents a big opportunity by starting out with a new technology and variance to development and distances can be overcome resulting in more rapid growth,” she observed.
The Swiss president, who paid a two-day working visit to Ghana, said, with their power to spread knowledge, the internet and social media could lead to the spread of knowledge as well as better understanding and greater openness.
She argued that never has access to education, access to electricity or mobility been reality for so many people, lauding Ghana for its strides in internet and mobile penetration in addition to being the first African country to be hooked to the internet in 1994.
“Ghana has now overtaken us Swiss in terms of mobile phone penetration. The latest figure shows a rate of 139 percent in Ghana versus a 135 percent in Switzerland, taking into account that just 10 years ago the rate in Switzerland was more than four times higher than your penetration in Ghana. This is particularly impressive,” she said.
But for the immense benefits of digitization through the internet, the Swiss president urged a global action by governments, experts, civil society, and users, among many, to determine how to benefit from the internet and how much risk the world should accept in the use.
“If we want to prevent the winners and losers situation where only a few benefit digitization must be democratized.
According to her, Switzerland supports the development of platforms which makes it easier for businesses to have access to relevant laws and financial services via mobile phones which are helpful for SMEs and in this context realized Ghana has already overtaken Switzerland.
Franklin Cudjoe, Executive Director of IMANI Ghana, a local policy think tank, organizers of the forum, lauded the Swiss president for her use of social media to reach out to her people. Enditem