Guyana fortunate to have ‘visionary leadership’ to promote digital economy

Digitisation has been touted as the driving force behind sustainable economic development and is expected to propel every industry to achieve high levels of productivity and growth.

According to Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aspire Food Group, Mohammed Ashour, Guyana has the resources necessary to advance into the technological era and spur this massive growth.

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aspire Food Group, Mohammed Ashour

Ashour was at the time addressing those gathered on Wednesday, at the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo, which is being held under the theme: ‘Fuelling Transformation and Modernisation.’ 

His presentation was titled ‘Building an AI-Nation: How Guyana can Lead the World in Digital Transformation Across Every Sector, Powered by Artificial Intelligence.’

“I am tremendously excited by the opportunity in Guyana. This country has a visionary government that fully understands and embraces this truth and has generated the political will that leads to the policy. This ultimately leads to the regulatory framework that enables companies to be able to access and develop the technology frameworks to digitise this nation,” he said.

Ashour explained that this visionary leadership is evident in the country’s expanding health sector, as the government continues to support initiatives that improve healthcare access and modernise operations.

Telemedicine is a relatively new venture that has been gaining traction in Guyana. It is a two-way, real-time interactive communication between a patient and healthcare provider through digital means.

It is supported by audio and video equipment and integrated medical devices that empower clinicians to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients remotely.

The project was launched in 2022 with four Amerindian communities in Region Nine as the pilot beneficiaries.

It was later expanded to 25 communities in Region One, Seven, Eight, Nine and 10. This year, the government is aiming to establish at least 50 more telemedicine sites across the country.

These sites will be equipped with the requisite technological devices that provide community health workers stationed in these communities with 24-hour access to specialists from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.

The CEO highlighted three crucial elements to facilitating a digital transformation.

“In order to embrace artificial intelligence, it depends on three key things. The first is computing power, which we thankfully now have and will continue to see exponential improvement. The second is algorithms which we now have the intellectual and human capital to generate, but the third is data. And data is crucial because data is considered the new oil,” he pointed out.

Consequently, Ashour underscored the need for a protective framework to establish cybersecurity, data integrity, and digital data privacy systems.

In this regard, the government is already making headway. In 2023, the National Assembly passed the Data Protection Bill 2023 and the Digital Identity Card Bill 2023 to safeguard personal data, while empowering Guyanese with the security to navigate the digital sphere.

Cybersecurity efforts are also fortified through initiatives implemented by the National Data Management Authority (NDMA).

“This government and this country fully embrace the need for renewable energy. But the key here is going to be to ensure not only the embrace of technology, but for that to be a responsible embrace, because only through this will shared prosperity be possible. And when that happens, this country in this nation will rise to new heights and one day hopefully achieve the unimaginable,” Ashour recognised.

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