Ursula Markets Digitisation Agenda

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

MINISTER OF Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, says government is vigorously pursuing a deliberate agenda to digitize Ghana with an ambitious technological programme of infrastructural development and national broadband infrastructure at the country’s rural communities to connect all citizens.

She told participants at this year’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) World Telecom Conference in Durban, South Africa, that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government deems it imperative for all Ghanaian citizens to benefit from the opportunities presented by digitisation.

It has therefore erected 200 rural mobile telephony sites in communities across the country in less than two years as part of the scaling up of the digitisation agenda, which is aimed at bridging the digital divide between rural and urban Ghana.

She bemoaned the paltry 117 rural telephony sites constructed by the erstwhile NDC government within eight years.

According to her, 100 rural telephony sites were constructed and activated to cover 500 communities where access to mobile signals was previously unavailable.

The communications minister noted that the government had also completed 80 rural telephony sites this year and that it is on course to add an extra 200 before the year ends.

She disclosed that was being done in partnership with MTN and Huawei, explaining that the partnership involves the deployment of voice and data connectivity as well.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, who also spoke at the global ministerial roundtable discussions, indicated that bridging the wide digital divide is crucial to the socio-economic development of Ghana.

She explained that widening digital gap came to being as a result of the growth in tele-density in urban areas which is fueled by mobile technological uptake and the assertion by network providers that the extension of connection to the rural areas would not be commercially viable.

She lauded the efforts of officials at the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and their increasingly critical role in digital transformation.

GIFEC is mandated by law to provide financial resources for the establishment of universal service and universal access to all communities and to facilitate the provision of access to basic telephony, internet services, multimedia broadband and broadcasting services.

Ghana has joined over 126 countries across the world to showcase its digital solutions at the ITU Telecom World Conference and Exhibition in Durban, South Africa.

The minister was accompanied by a delegation of Ghanaian investors, innovators, and project and decision makers from the ICT ecosystem.

The conference with exhibition at the sideline is being held under the theme: “Innovation for a Smarter World”.

It seeks to accelerate ICT innovation for socio-economic development through solutions, sharing knowledge and networking with measures to develop and protect local intellectual property, and massive skills development programme to underpin the growth of ICT throughout society.

From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi