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Opinions Mon, 17 Aug 2020

How govt can use technology to involve citizens in policy and decision-making

Introduction

In today's life, the trend of technology is emerging day by day. Everyone perceives technology as the use of devices in their lives. Yes, it is true to some extent. Technology is an infrastructure to organize the scientific skills for problem-solving so that products and services can be invented, developed, produced, and used as customer requirements.” Technology plays a vital role in our lives. If we take a global survey of how technology is changing life day by day, then it is shown that 50 percent of areas in the world are not beneficiary. Africa is one of them. So, have a glance on how Technology is effecting African Citizenship in today’s era.

Citizen Participation in Africa

The term “citizen participation” is expelled by information, realization, communication, and questioning. It is a mechanism that enables individual citizens the ability to influence public decisions and to be part of the democratic decision-making. Participation in local life

community enables those individuals who do not have the right to vote on certain decisions. In this way citizens stay informed and express their views on the challenges the community faces.

Technology for Citizen Participation

We should understand citizens' technological capacity. Know whether they are computer literate or cell phone users, as well as what is their level of digital literacy and experience. Furthermore, examine characteristics of government technology and society to acknowledge the similarities and the differences.

Youth may be keen to track and organize using Facebook or Twitter on their cell phone. So, there are chances to get involved with technology users. Furthermore a simple introduction of USSD codes could also be made available for non-tech citizens.

How Government can use Technology for citizen participation

There are following reasons about how participants get in touch with government and thery are determined to create a change. They

Know about social issues

Feel to have solutions of those issues

Find it “easy” to get involved

Know that their struggles are considered

Benefits of technology in African participation

The first benefit of technology is Participatory budgeting. In participatory budgeting, citizens are able to communicate directly with the State to decide where to spend government resources.

In Ghana, civil society is tending to take an active role in the budgetary control. The Government has also demonstrated its involvement in and commitment to social debate on good Governance and Accountability. The media play an essential role in the distribution of budget information and in effective transmission evaluations and Budget Insights. We have, however, restricted resources to investigate certain policies or engage in thorough debate with public officials.

Online public participation has dominated conventional offline participatory budgeting and shown an increase in the amount of votes casted throughout the previous one year when no online computers were available.

Conclusion

It is noticed that before introducing technology, Government was not able to make more participants. There is no issue of using technology because if some citizens are not computer literate, they can also participate by the prior methods. And those who know the use of technology can also participate in it. So, Technology makes life easier with more and more benefits.
Columnist: Prince Andrew Livingstone Zutah