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Ghana Preparing for it’s First Digital Population, Housing Census

The census is expected to cost $84 million, around 50% more than the last census

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Ghana, Digital Population, Census
A government official tests an electronic questionnaire in Old Fadama, Accra’s largest slum, ahead of Ghana’s first digital population and housing census in 2020, May 24, 2019. VOA

In Accra’s district of Old Fadama, the largest slum in Ghana’s capital, a government official interrupts a group of men playing cards. The official carries a tablet and asks if anyone has time for a few questions to test an electronic questionnaire.

Ghana is preparing for its first digital population and housing census next March, joining Swaziland, Malawi and Kenya as one of the first countries in Africa to collect data electronically.

Long-time resident Mohammed Basiru volunteers. He was missed out of the head count during Ghana’s previous census in 2010 because he was traveling overnight from the northern city of Tamale.

At that time, questionnaires were on paper. It took months to gather and assemble the data, and around 3% of the population was left out of the survey.

Ghana, Digital Population, Census
Satellite imagery shows the growth of Accra’s urban area between 2010 (above) and 2018 (below). The government is using satellite technology to prepare for its first digital population and housing census in 2020. VOA

Now the government will be going digital, using tablets and satellite images to improve the reach of enumerators and make sure everyone in Ghana is counted on census night.

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia said the data would help fight inequality.

“We must count everyone and make everyone accountable to pay their fair share in taxes that would be used to target assistance to those who may not have had access to critical social services previously,” said Bawumia at an event last week.

The census is expected to cost $84 million, around 50% more than the last census. The government has contracted around 60,000 enumerators, but is still working with the United Nations on how best to source the 65,000 tablets required to conduct the surveys.

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Officials say Kenya may be able to lend out the tablets after it completes its first digital census later this year.

Araba Forson, chief statistician for the Ghana Statistical Service, said technology would prevent enumerators from under-staffing densely populated areas — a problem encountered in 2010 because the population maps they used were out of date.

“Satellite imagery will tell us that there are people living in this part of the country that the enumerator may not have visited,” she said. “Using electronic data collection, we will be able to make sure that everyone has been covered.”

Ghana’s urban population has more than doubled during the past two decades, rising from 7 million in 1997 to almost 16 million in 2017, according to the World Bank.

Ghana, Digital Population, Census
Informal settlements in Accra’s Agbogbloshie slum, where residents were evicted by city authorities to make way for a railway track in Accra, Ghana, May 26, 2019. VOA

Many people have moved from poorer rural areas in search for work, joining the millions of street vendors and waste pickers who make up most of Ghana’s informal economy.

Together with the homeless, they are the “floating population” whom government statisticians want to capture better in their database.

And the stakes are higher this time, as the census will play a key part in the nationwide rollout of biometric ID cards launched by President Nana Akufo-Addo in 2017. The new Ghana Card requires a digital address code, many of which will be generated by enumerators during the census.

In Agbogbloshie district, notorious for housing a toxic junkyard of electronic waste, community member Naa Ardo-Acquah said some slum dwellers were suspicious of the ID registration process.

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“In the Choko community, they thought the card means to tax,” she said. “The authorities didn’t sensitize them on it.”

Ardo-Acqhua hopes the new digital address system will stop city authorities from removing slum dwellers from their homes.

But distrust remains an issue, and officials testing tablets and marking houses in poorer areas said some of their numbers were later removed by informal residents who feared eviction.

“Our publicity and communication team has developed communication materials, both print and audiovisuals, that will be used to educate the people,” said Omar Seidu, a social statistician for the Ghana Statistical Service.

Ghana, Digital Population, Census
A church in Agbogbloshie slum hosts a registration center for a biometric ID card launched by Ghana’s president in 2017. VOA

Seidu said his team would be working closely with community leaders before the census to make sure the process is understood.

Ardo-Acqhua has said she still worries the government will not send enough staff to Agbogbloshie. She spent days helping people register for their ID cards at centers set up by the National Identification Authority, and said many were discouraged by long lines.

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“They only came for three days and less than half the community was able to sign up,” she said. “I don’t know what they are going to do about that.” (VOA)

Next Story

Oracle Dials SaaS 2.0 to Help Indian Businesses go Digital

Oracle, which is set to organise 'Modern Business Forum' in Mumbai on December 17 to tell a story about how it is accelerating customers' digital transformation in India, embeds AI and ML into SaaS applications

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Oracle
Oracle office. Wikimedia Commons

BY NISHANT ARORA 

Before the noise of Hybrid Cloud, multi-Cloud and various ‘As-a-Service’ offerings took over our minds, it was Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Cloud model that ruled the industry as an ‘on-demand software’, which is only gaining momentum with the Industry 4.0 era.

California-based Oracle, which has been a pioneer in helping enterprises run their daily affairs across sales, marketing, HR and finance verticals with its Cloud applications, is now set to empower both large enterprises and small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India with the next-gen SaaS solutions.

According to Prasad Rai, Vice President, Applications, Oracle India, in India and globally, the number of companies choosing Oracle SaaS solutions over the competition is increasing.

“These customers are a mix of large firms, mid-size SMBs and Cloud natives. We have helped large and older firms like Indian Oil, Hindalco, Indian Hotels, SBI Card, Genpact and Sandhar Automotive in their digital transformation.

“At the same time, we have Cloud-native disruptors like Oyo Rooms, Rivigo Systems and KLAY Prep Schools in our customers’ list,” Rai told IANS.

The requirements for both the set of organisations is very unique.

“Oracle has understanding and dexterity to support customers of any size, with every thinkable requirement from any sector. We have customers from sectors like manufacturing, retail, hospitality, social welfare, engineering and construction, logistics, oil and gas, among others,” Rai elaborated.

According to Gartner, the SaaS market will grow up to $110.5 billion by 2020, from the current $94.8 billion.

Oracle Launches Intelligence Map for Close Look at Internet.
Witnessing double-digit growth in India for past 3 years: Oracle. IANS

SaaS has become a common delivery model for many business applications, including customer relationship management (CRM), management information systems (MIS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), invoicing, human resource management (HRM), talent acquisition, learning management systems, content management (CM), office software, payroll processing software, management software and so on.

According to Rai, Oracle Cloud applications, built on Machine Learning, offer the most complete application suite with the best technology, enabling fast innovation with a modern user experience and customer-first approach.

“In 2020, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), automation and Blockchain will cease to be emerging and will become the mainstay of Cloud computing in general and of the SaaS, in particular,” said Rai.

Businesses will invest in SaaS applications for churning out business intelligence.

“The organisations will incorporate analytics-based AI and ML to monitor and improve their core as well as secondary functions. In 2020, marketing and automation are likely to become more synonymous as marketers will use automation across their tech stacks, from their email marketing tool to their accounting system and CRM,” he explained.

Till now, businesses are using SaaS on providing core functions like HR, finance, operations, etc.

In the coming times, according to the Oracle executive, businesses will seek vertical-specific SaaS solutions.

“Though Blockchain has not gained much steam in SaaS, in the coming year, however, it could pick up a significant amount of speed,” he added.

The SaaS market has been growing over the past few years and with the advent of the industry 4.0 era, the scope of the growth of the SaaS market is not going to diminish soon.

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According to Rai, the real opportunity for technologies like AI and ML, IoT, Blockchain, containers and serverless and human interfaces is to enable companies to embrace innovation on a scale as we’ve never seen before.

“Enterprises have gone from experimenting with these technologies in a sandbox to implementing them for mission-critical applications, to building new business models and creating business value,” he said.

Oracle, which is set to organise ‘Modern Business Forum’ in Mumbai on December 17 to tell a story about how it is accelerating customers’ digital transformation in India, embeds AI and ML into SaaS applications.

“For example, built-in AI tools are integrated into Oracle CX applications that better predict account health, deliver next-best-service actions, automate answers, and provide a more personalised service,” Rai informed. (IANS)