Government embarks on digital inclusion agenda
The Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Communications is playing a pivotal role in the development of a robust framework to support the digitisation of the economy in a manner that captures and benefits every citizen.
This is contained in a statement issued by Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful in line with the just opened ITU Telecoms World 2017 Conference in Busan, South Korea.
The theme for the conference is “Smart Digital Transformation, Global Opportunities”, and it focuses in how to globalize accessibility to smart technologies for the benefit of all, particularly the estimated 3.9 billion people who, according to the ITU, still don’t have access to ICT.
The ITU is therefore using this year’s conference to create business to business and business to government networks across the world with the view to bridging the digital gap.
It is in keeping with that global vision that the MOC is embarking on what it calls the Digital Ghana Agenda to cover as much of the digitally deprived communities and persons as possible.
“As part of our Digital Ghana Agenda, we are embarking on an ambitious infrastructure development programme for the ICT Sector, with a national broadband infrastructure and total connectivity for the unserved and underserved at the heart of the agenda. No one will be left behind,” Ursula Owusu Ekuful said.
She said in an effort to bridge the digital divide, regional Community Information Centres (CIC) have been built across the country to bring government e-services, including postal services, passport services, birth registrations etc closer to communities.
The Minister also said the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Government is proud to have launched the biometric National Identity Card, which is enhanced with new technologies including tactile elements for the blind, chip embedding technology and iris capabilities.
“We are also pleased to have launched the National Digital Property Addressing System, powered by the locally developed Asaase GPS App, which will provide every Ghanaian with a unique permanent digital address linked to postcodes.
“The introduction of paperless port operations, the integrated e-immigration system, e-procurement, e-parliament, e-justice, e-cabinet and smart workplaces among other initiatives, which are all at various stages of implementation and the development of an interoperability system to integrate government databases, all represent significant milestones in Ghana’s journey to digitisation,” she said, adding that “it’s Digitime in Ghana!”
According to the Minister, efforts are underway to support the vibrant local start up ecosystem, as as part of those efforts, government has set up an ICT Incubator Hub called the Accra Digital Centre, which is also home to a state of the art, Grade A ‘plug and play’ commercial office space for ICT businesses and business process outsourcing.
“We are also developing ICT Parks to promote entrepreneurship, attract private investment and enhance ICT research and development. Our aim is to encourage the transfer of knowledge and development of human resource capacity to meet the increasing digital demands of the country and boost youth employment,” she stated.
Ursula Owusu Ekuful said government is also up scaling the country’s cyber security efforts – working with stakeholders across the country and internationally to build resilience and ensure the country is operating in safe cyber spaces and enacting policies such as Child Online Protection to safeguard children.
Indeed, the MOC is also gearing up to work with some local and international partners to boost tourist attraction to Ghana by provide a system that ensure more accurate location of tourist sites and also makes affordable WIFI available at those sites, no matter how remote.
The Minister is confident Ghana is on its way to become a leading digital hub in Africa, region and its showing at the ITU conference is Busan will bring that bear.
She is therefore urging conference participants to “find time to visit the Ghana stand, to interact with our exhibitors and to see the innovative products being showcased by the Ghanaian delegation.”
Ghana is being represented by a team led by Deputy Minister of Communications Nenyi George Kojo Andah, and they include National Communications Authority, National Information Technology Agency, Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication, GCNet, Wireless Applications Service Providers Association of Ghana, Subah Ghana and the Bank of Ghana.