Minister of Communication, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has disclosed that the government will expand telecommunication connectivity to 2,016 communities to connect about 3 million people.
She indicated that the government is determined to provide 95% of the population with voice and data connectivity within the next 18 months.
The Minister disclosed that Ghana has been rated by the Oxford Business Group as having the second-highest data penetration rate and the fastest growing mobile money market in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking at the launch of Digital Transformation Centre Initiative [DTC] programme at Pinanko in the Central Region, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that digital technology is indeed the foundation of modern living.
She, therefore, expressed pride of the government’s initiatives that have facilitated ICT infrastructure development, provision of equipment, and capacity building programmes over the past years, which have made a positive impact on the lives of individuals and institutions across the country.
According to her, since 2017 the Ministry of Communications, through the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), has provided telecommunications connectivity to over 2,000 communities as part of the flagship Rural Telephony Project, and enhancing the socio-economic lives of over 1,200,000 citizens in rural Ghana.
“It is therefore imperative that we scale up efforts to ensure that these developments are available within the reach of, and experienced by everybody living in any part of the country if indeed, we are to leave no one behind as we desire.”
“To guarantee the effective use of the community ICT Centres and equipment deployed in underserved and unserved communities, we are building the capacity of persons in both formal and informal sector, teachers and students.”
“Over the past four years, a total of 502,600 people have been trained in ICT programmes. 182,000 children have been trained through the Coding for Kids project,” she said.
The Ministry, she said, holds the GIICT celebration bi-annually, trains almost 1,000 girls in basic computer literacy and coding, provides them with laptops and internet modems, trains their teachers as trainers and gives them devices, builds computer labs in their schools and has instituted a mentorship day for women working with technology to interact with and inspire these young girls to take up ICT careers.
She disclosed that 100 best performing students from each group are brought to Accra to spend a week with female ICT professionals in their workplaces.
According to her, Ghana providing all citizenry with ICT skills is fundamental for socio-economic development as it will enable the beneficiaries to learn how to use ICT as both a tool and facilitator of progress and financial independence.
This, she said, is the fundamental goal of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo because without the requisite digital skills the bulk of the population will be unable to enjoy the benefits of the many digital interventions undertaken by the government to formalize the economy, promote greater efficiency, transparency and reduce corruption.
The Minister stressed that the specific targeted interventions to promote the use of digital financial services like mobile money interoperability, ghana.gov payments platform for accessing all government goods and services, QR code payment systems, national E ID, digital address system, various e-government initiatives among many others will not be available to those without the right skills to be able to utilize them.