Business News of Friday, 21 July 2017
Deputy Minister of Communications, Hon. George Andah has hinted that the vision of the Akufo-Addo-led administration is to make Ghana the digital hub, most businesses will like to operate.
According to him, the vision sits very well with the fact that technology is clearly and unarguably the game-changer as global digital technology has become a critical prerequisite for the creation of a conducive environment for businesses to thrive in.
Speaking at the 4th Annual Lecture of Today newspaper on the theme: “Using Digital Technology to Accelerate Business Growth,” held at the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel in Accra yesterday, the deputy communications minister explained that digital technology platform serves as the foundation for economic growth, job creation, global competitiveness and a better way of life.
“There is no denying the fact that digital technology is having a profound impact, and changing services delivery in the education, healthcare, creation of an ecosystem for improved agriculture, the management of energy resources, public safety, citizen-government engagement, eCommerce, the dissemination of information and knowledge among other things,” he said.
Hon. Andah, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Awutu-Senya West in the Central Region, opined that due to the importance of digital technology, the government has invested heavily in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to address the growing demand for ICT services, and open the country up for the implementation of smart technologies.
“Mr Chairman, today, we can confidently say that we have blanketed the whole country with fibre optic cables through the efforts of both government and the private sector. We also have available in the country five (5) undersea submarine cables providing international bandwidth for utilisation,” he revealed.
Mr Andah announced that preparations were ongoing to construct an ITC park which when completed, will dramatically accelerate the promotion of research, development and entrepreneurship among the youth.
“It is in line with this that the ministry has operationalised the Accra Digital Centre to accommodate companies to provide job opportunities and nurture digital entrepreneurs. Today, internet broadband is relatively affordable and due to the enabling environment provided by the government for the private sector growth, market forces are driving prices of internet packages further down. These are exciting times and we must leverage on the global technological advancement to make the print media flourish,” he added.
He, therefore, advised the print media to grasp the opportunity to spread their niche and clientele base by making use of the digital platform to reach all within the country and outside the shores of Ghana.
For his part, the Board Chairman of National Communication Authority (NCA), Mr Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, who chaired the programme, admonished the organisers of the event, noting that the theme for the occasion was apt for the development of the technological capacity for business growth.
According to the NCA board chairman, digital technology had transformed business operations in the country, saying the telecommunication sector has brought efficiency and innovation to making business transactions easier and faster.
He maintained that the use of mobile data growth has increased significantly and the number of subscribers as of February 2017 stood at about 19 million, representing almost 70 per cent penetration rate.
Also for her part, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vodafone Ghana, Yolanda Cuba, said technology has always been driven by Vodafone Ghana.
She debunked the notion that telecommunication operators were in to compete with the banks with the introduction of Mobile Money platform, but said rather they were partners ensuring that they bring financial inclusion.
According to her, “as of today, there are about 80,000 mobile money agents across the country serving the financial needs of the public.”
She, therefore, called on Ghanaians to embrace digital technology to enhance business.
“I look forward to a day where we are able to embrace CEO and CIO into a common person, then we will actually have the best programmes,” she said.
In her welcome address, General Manager (GM) of Today newspaper, Mrs Vicky Wireko-Andoh, said that the Today Lecture Series serves as the newspaper’s contribution to generate a national dialogue on issues that pertain to business, governance and the development of the country.
According to her, the paper has so far succeeded in bringing fertile minds together every year to lead some national discussions.