The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Rt. Dr. Sidie Mohammed Tunis for called for better methods to help stop all manner of insecurity in all Africa countries indicating violent conflict are always characterized by lack of development and shortage of economic opportunities.
He made this call while speaking at the de-localised meeting of the Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Legal Affairs and Human Rights and Telecommunications and Information Technology of the ECOWAS Parliament, holding in Winneba, from July 27 to 30, 2021.
“Permit me to state the obvious that a lot of the challenges bedeviling our region already have their solutions in Telecommunications and Information Technology (TIT). Therefore, the deliberations of Members of the Joint Committee over the next few days should lead to sound recommendations for our community in this regard. As the region is currently being affected by waves of violent extremism and terrorism, humanitarian crisis and global pandemics, Members must consider the merits of the latest technological advancements, innovations, and intelligence as viable tools to curb insecurity”.
He added, “After all, evidence shows that societies mired in violent conflict are often characterized by lack of development and shortage of economic opportunities. So, we must strive for the return of peace in our region as it remains the key competent to sustainable development.”
Through the rapid development of telecommunications and information technology, he argued, administration of justice can be improved and made effective for the smooth running of the society.
He said the digitization of legal systems is a development that has come to stay and he has no doubt that if improved upon, life will be made easier for the people. This, he said, is because it stands to reason that peace can only prevail in a society that has justice and equity.
“As the world continues to witness innovations and changes in the ICT architecture, the judicial system and its policy makers now have the opportunity to bring justice, law and order closer to the people.”
Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament and Member of Parliament for the Effutu Constituency, Alexander Afenyo-Markin in his opening remarks emphasised the crucial importance on ICT in the development and advancement of every economy.
He said the world now lives in the age of revolutionary Telecommunication and Information Technology.
“This is the age where doctors perform invasive but critical life-saving surgeries remotely with the aid of high-speed internet, computers and advanced medical tools, equipment and gadgets. This is the period where advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have made it possible for some countries to deploy Robots, instead of human judges, to make accurate and binding judicial decisions in the Courtroom”, Afenyo-Markin added.
He continued: “Indeed, this is the age where Telecommunication and Information Technology is making it possible for billionaires to travel to space for holiday. Ridiculous as this might sound, it is still valid. In the parts of the world where the true potential of telecommunications and Information Technology is being harnessed, citizens have easy access to computers and the internet. For example, in the U.S, 87 percent of individuals have access to a computer in their households. The figure in Finland is 93 percent. In these two countries, over 85 percent and more than 89 percent of people have access to the internet.
“Yet, the story across Africa is troubling. For example, in 2019, only 7.7 percent of households on the continent of Africa were estimated to have a computer at home. The figure tallied with the result for 2018. In many ways, the evidence is around us in our respective countries. Our school children rarely use computers, and in many schools, pupils learn about computers without the benefit of neither seeing nor operating them.”