Social Security institutions in West Africa must take advantage of digital technology to expand pension coverage in the sub-region, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, has stated.
Speaking at a two-day international technical seminar leveraging digitalisation to extend social security coverage in West Africa in Accra on Monday, he said the region’s inability to cover a large percentage of the workforce under social security schemes was partly due to lack of digitalised procedures to ease the registration process.
“This indicates that leveraging digitalisation to extend social security coverage is critical. Therefore, investing in this to extend social security coverage is not an aspiration that can be deferred to the future. I therefore call on social security institutions within West Africa to take advantage of the emergence of digital technologies to bridge the wide coverage gap,” Mr Awuah noted.
The Minister said despite numerous interventions to promote pension, coverage of social protection remained low in Africa.
He said ISSA’s 2023 Report on Social Security Developments and Trends in Africa indicated that only 27.1 per cent of older persons in Africa received old-age benefits, compared to a global average of 77.5 per cent.
The two-day event was hosted by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) under the auspices of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) – an international organisation for social security institutions, and Government of Ghana.
The seminar also saw the transfer of ISSA Liaison Office from Cote d’Ivoire to Ghana.
The Director-General of SSNIT, Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, in his remarks, charged the participants to focus on technology that impacts positively on service delivery and access to social security.
“Let us not come at the discussions purely from an administrative point of view, but focus on how we can use available technology to truly impact the lives of our people. We cannot fail in this endeavour, because when you look at the map for social security coverage globally, you will find that Africa is one of the least covered areas even though our populations continue to grow at substantial rates.”
BY KINGSLEY ASARE
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