The Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane-Boamah, has stated that the future of the Ghanaian youth in the global digital economy is very bright.
He attributed that to the resolve by successive governments to optimise the capacity of the country as a player in the global economy based on digital technologies and through the development of human capacity and infrastructure in the sector.
Dr Boamah said this in a keynote address at the 35th annual Management Day instituted by the University of Ghana Management School to bridge the link between students and practitioners in the management profession.
The minister’s address traced the country’s efforts in the development of digital technologies and infrastructure, the establishment of the policy and legal structures to enhance the development of capacities, as well as ongoing efforts to maximise progress and gains.
ICT and development
Quoting from research materials and experts, Dr Boamah highlighted the importance of ICT and its development in the country.
He said the dominance of ICT was so crucial that currently, a country’s broadband capacity was a development indicator.
Moreover, the World Bank had estimated that for every 10 per cent increase in broadband capacity in any country, there was a corresponding average increase of one per cent in Gross Domestic Product.
Dr Boamah indicated that the National ICT for Accelerated Development Policy had been reviewed to meet the changes in the global economy and advances in the technological environment.
He said it was expected that by July 2014, the entire review process, together with the development of an implementation plan, would have been completed.
On ICT infrastructure development, he submitted that the establishment of a robust and affordable telecommunications and allied networks and services, which are all well interconnected to provide local and international access, provided the focus of the government.
In line with that, an action plan had guided the sustainable implementation of the enabling physical infrastructure for ICT.
“The existing Enabling Physical Infrastructure (EPI) for IT includes robust backbone infrastructure, founded on wireless, wireline, satellite or fibre technology to enhance the development of computer networks,” he added.
Dr Boamah mentioned the country’s infrastructure capacity, saying, “presently, Ghana is served by five submarine cables and there is also a national terrestrial optic fibre network that is being built to cover all the districts and constituencies.”
“In June 2012, Ghana successfully connected its terrestrial optic fibre with those of neighbouring Burkina Faso and Togo. With this level of international connectivity, Ghana has already fulfilled the ITUs Connect-Africa target, before the 2015 deadline,” he said.
He further elaborated on other infrastructure developments that had resulted in the progressive reduction in the cost of bandwidth in the country since 2007, when the cost of two megabites of bandwidth was about $10,000, and the cost now, which stands at US$1,200.
Other speakers at the function were the Director General of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), Mr William Tevie; the Director of Applications at NITA, Mrs Veronica Boateng; and Mr Osei Griffiths of the National Identification Authority (NIA).
Mr Tevie spoke about the enormous opportunities presented by cloud computing and how it could be harnessed in enhancing government business.
Mrs Boateng dwelt on government’s E-programmes that currently had 11 institutions whose services could be assessed and payments made online, including payments via mobile telephony.
Mr Griffiths focused on biometric identification.
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