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Digitalisation of water and sanitation sector won’t make people jobless – Director, RWESCK-KNUST

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The water sector in Ghana is still struggling with inadequate digital database for customers and water asset management as well as low application of digital technologies for managing high non-revenue water.

Currently, Ghana is faced with inadequate capacity in smart water and sanitation solutions and innovative technologies to manage water utility and waste resources recovery.

To address this issue, Regional Water and Environmental Sanitation Centre, Kumasi, (RWESCK) KNUST in collaboration with AgroParisTech have identified digital skills gaps in the application of digitalisation innovations and smart circular economy in water and sanitation utilities management.

According to Prof. Oduro-Kwarteng, RWESCK’S Director, the digitalisation of the water and sanitation sector is not meant to take people away from their positions but rather to train the young ones to be digital transformative leaders.

Speaking at a national workshop on Digital Transformation Skills Development in the water and sanitation sector in Accra, he called for a review of the tertiary institution’s curriculum to include digital education to produce graduates who are industry ready.

“Most times when we say we are going digital, many people think a lot of people are going to lose their jobs, especially those who are not computer savvy.

“What we will do is that we make sure the new entry is digital transformation compliance, when that happens, in the next 10 years to come, those who are not computer savvy might have gone on retirement. If that happens, we will realize that we can revolutionize a lot of things and this is what most of us don’t know,” he emphasized.

“This project emanated from the previous studies that we did in human resource and skill gap study in the area of water and sanitation and another study which was done in 2018 to identify skill gaps in addition to other gaps which are lack in the sector. Digital innovation came up strongly in both studies as an area we need to build capacity in the country and through that we have developed programmes for our students,” he added.

Mr. Maxwell Akosah who represented the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) stressed on how digitalisation has helped the company overcome some challenges.

“Payment systems, non-revenue water, monitoring of meter reading and billing the customers were some of the major challenges that we were facing, for example, if I make payments in Accra for a customer in Tamale, in some years back it will take months before it reflects but through digitalisation, such errors have been reduced if not completely removed,” he said.

Nyansapo project

The Nyansapo Project is funded by the French Embassy in Ghana.

The focus of the project is to introduce digital transformation skills into water and sanitation education to enhance the employability of young Ghanaian graduates with digitalisation innovation skills during their masters training, research and internship periods.

The workshop had 40 participants from KNUST and other organisations in the Water and Sanitation Sector.

Dr. Florent Englemann of the French Embassy in Ghana was elated to be a part of the workshop and believes the project is an epitome of what the Embassy is trying to achieve with Ghana.

He assured the participants of the French Embassy’s support.

“It is a pleasure to represent the French Embassy at this workshop. The French Embassy aims at contributing to the implementation of the SDGs in Ghana through establishment and implementation of collaboration between Ghanaian and French partners in the area of higher education and research.

“I am particularly pleased to be here with you because this project is emblematic of what we are trying to achieve,” he said.

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