The Minister of Communications and Digitalisation (MoCD), Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has reiterated the government’s commitment to building strong partnerships and formulating policies for digital technologies that would drive the socio-economic development of the country as well as position Ghana as the digital gateway to the African continent.
According to her, Ghana considers the collaborative platforms initiated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the various Regional and Global partnerships essential to the growth of not only the Africa Region but all Member States for a collective benefit.
To this end, she said Ghana will continue to serve the ITU community.
She indicated that the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with the Secretariat headquartered in Ghana was a pointer to the African Continent-wide marketing strategy powered by digitalisation, adding, “we are, therefore, extending our digital infrastructure to our borders to enable seamless connection to our neighbours”.
Commending the Romania government for hosting the 2022 International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-2022) in Bucharest, the Minister stated that Ghana was fully committed to the strategic direction set by the ITU to ensure the universal connectivity that would propel the needed global digital transformation.
The objective of the 2022 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference is to provide the avenue for Member State parties to set the Union’s General Policy direction; Adopt the 4-year strategic and financial plans; Elect the Senior Management Team of the Union and elect the Member States of the Council.
“Closing the digital divide to facilitate equitable connectivity, which is vital to support the economic transformation of Ghana, our primary objective, we are of the opinion that we can transform Covid-19 from a global crisis to an opportunity through digital technology”, she added.
According to Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, the government has also introduced initiatives that are aimed at narrowing the digital divide and empowering citizens to embrace the use of ICT.
She revealed that the implementation of the rural telephony project had already connected over three million people, noting that, the previously unconnected people now had equal access to the innovations which were introduced by the Government in Ghana’s digital transformation journey under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The Minister also outlined the following initiatives geared towards achieving digital inclusion for all:
a) Mobile money interoperability which has brought over 15 million previously unbanked persons onto the financial digital platform;
b) The National Identity Card as a single purpose e ID for all digital transactions to prevent identity theft and cyber fraud.
c) Digital skills development offered through a nationwide network of Digital Transformation Centres to benefit over 20,000 Women Entrepreneurs, Master Trainers, Youth, and Children in Coding Clubs over the past 12 months.
d) Focused interventions to reduce the gender digital divide and create opportunities for the youth through the Girls in ICT program and nurturing of new businesses at Digital Incubation Centres.
She said that the government was also taking all the prerequisite steps to ensure secure and resilient cyberspace for sustained digital transformation while bearing in mind the utilisation of ITU guidelines.
“Ghana is actively promoting cybersecurity not only for our benefit but for the sub-region as a whole. Ghana’s ranking on the 2021 ITU Global Cybersecurity Index improved to 86.69%, up from 32.6% in 2017. We seek partnerships and international cooperation to do even better for our entire sub-region,” she explained.
She said: “The Government of Ghana is determined to provide the necessary digital infrastructure, a conducive legal and regulatory environment, build digital capabilities to enhance the adoption and use of ICT and digital innovation, and close all digital gaps to propel our digital transformation. In pursuit of this, Ghana reiterates its commitment to working with the ITU to achieve its strategic objectives for the benefit of all ITU Member States.”