Ghana’s smart ID card will pay ‘political, economic, and social dividends’
The new Ghana Card gives 16.2 million people the world's most advanced electronic passport – for free – explains Moses K Baiden Jr
Ghana’s new smart identity card started rolling out in April 2018. Its production company, ICPS of Margins Group, hopes that the new electronic ID card will drive socioeconomic development in the country, by helping digitise a host of vital services. Margins Group CEO Moses K Baiden Jr discusses the opportunities that the new Ghana Card represents for the country and its people, the role that digitisation will play in the future of Africa, and his ambitions for Margins Group.
European CEO: What opportunities does the new Ghana Card represent for the country and its people?
Moses K Baiden Jr: Well Paul, it gives the country a whole new beginning. It connects the people to two big platforms: one is for e-government services, that’s fraught with bureaucracy or inefficiency, and sometimes costs money in terms of corruption and the human interface. That will change with a digital platform, where people can use their new digital identity to integrate to government services, and get seamless payments online, making citizenship much more beneficial.
Now on the private sector side, you have a digitised ecommerce platform that will connect people to service providers seamlessly. It will create efficiency, great value for money, and increase the velocity of commerce and economic expansion.
European CEO: It’s quite an achievement for a business that started with just $100 in capital.
Moses K Baiden Jr: Yes, we’re very proud of what we’ve been able to achieve – together with all of our global partners. It shows that in every environment there’s bright talent that can be harnessed, especially in this digital age. Where capital is not the key, but it’s the mindset of people – their imagination, their vision, and what they can create out of their minds.
European CEO: It’s important as well that the ID card production facilities, the management systems – they’re all Ghana built and operated.
Moses K Baiden Jr: Yes it is; I mean, we have some European partners, mainly Danish as well, over the years. But it shows the way that mindsets in the new digital economy is not conscribed to one country or one set of people. It’s free-flowing. And so, when you think about commercial opportunities, you need to look at it globally.
When it comes to great brains, you can always fertilise new ideas; especially when you have the demographics like Ghana. More than 60 percent of our population are in the youth bracket. So that means that we’ve got the raw material to feed these brains with the right content, and to fashion it to become a powerhouse in delivering outstanding proposals that only great minds can create.
European CEO: How significant a role do you see digitisation playing in Ghana’s future?
Moses K Baiden Jr: Well I think that the increase in the digitisation index will cause an astronomical increase in political, economic, and social dividends that will benefit the people of Ghana.
The new Ghana ID card for the first time gives 16.2 million people – for free – the best, most advanced, electronic passport, that meets any international standards. That allows them to travel within ECOWAS. So it’s an advancement on the agenda of ECOWAS, with free movement of people, free movement of goods, and on top of that: free movement of digital content, knowhow, and economic expansion.
That’s a way to get out of poverty: travelling, seeing, expanding knowhow. It just gives Ghana a ladder into the future, a new digital aged world.
European CEO: And what does the future hold for Margins Group?
Moses K Baiden Jr: I think the future’s global. We are starting from a garage, with $100. We’re 28 years old, we’ve moved from the garage. We’re already in seven countries. We’re collaborating with different multinational companies across the world. Some very big behemoths.
We want to grow our unique ideas into global propositions. Connecting identity to products, solutions, that are really getting to the bottom of how we liberate people, and expand the horizon of the economic opportunities.
And we know that we can’t do this alone – it’s a much more collaborative world. You need to cross-fertilise pioneering ideas with established ideas. You need to innovate; innovation is the basis of economic social and political expansion.
And we think in Africa, we live in a different paradigm, where we don’t have any legacy systems. If you see some of the products that are coming out of Africa now, they are just outstanding, because there’s nothing that is conservative. It’s all a green field.
Digital identity lets us leapfrog into a new world, where people’s digital avatars will be connecting with other people’s processes and products and solutions across the globe.
We intend at Margins to play a global role in this, in facilitating new ideas in a new digital world.
European CEO: Moses, thank you very much.
Moses K Baiden Jr: Thank you.