Ghana’s quest for effective and sustainable connectivity solutions for its rural community may have started yielding the expected results when stakeholders including the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), Ghana’s Ministry of Communications, the National Communications Authority (NCA), the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), among others gathered in Sunyani in the Brong-Ahafo region recently to discuss how best to expand ICT communication in under-served regions of the country.
Earlier in his opening address, the Honourable Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications, said that while Ghana’s telecoms sector had improved significantly, the distribution of fixed and mobile infrastructure “was still concentrated in the major economic centres of the country whereas the rural areas lack access to a reliable telecommunications infrastructure”.
Also speaking at the event, CTO’s CEO Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah said that “these consultations should help Ghana identify Public-Private-Peoples Partnerships (4Ps) to accelerate rural access, and that Ghanaian rural communities should not simply be perceived as beneficiaries of various projects, but also initiators, investors and project managers wherever possible”.
Except for mobile penetration, which is currently around 65%, Ghana’s ICT indicators remain low. Fixed line penetration and PC ownership are both low, at less than 4% each. Furthermore, overall access and usage gaps are more pronounced in rural areas where the unavailability of power in deprived communities is a key barrier to providing connectivity.
The Sunyani event, the first of a nationwide series of consultations in Ghana, was organised as part of the Commonwealth African Rural Connectivity Initiative (COMARCI), a CTO programme promoting improved rural access to voice and data connectivity in African Commonwealth countries.
Source: Vanguard Newspapers, Nigeria. Image: pcpro.co.uk