The Minister of Communications Ursula Owusu-Ekuful will today launch the much-awaited Smart Communities Project aimed at bringing the internet to the doorsteps of deprived communities in Ghana.
The project, which is being piloted in Brong Ahafo and the Western regions, will provide Wi-Fi in public establishments such as schools, hospitals, banks, police stations and market places among others. Four communities are to benefit from the maiden Smart Community initiative – Asumura, Berekum, Goaso and Asankragua in the Brong Ahafo and Western regions respectively.
The Smart Communities Project is being spearheaded by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) with support from Bluetown Company Limited, United Nations Capital Development Fund, National Board for Small Scale Industries and Zeepay Developers.
GIFEC is using the project to integrate Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into all facets of societal development as part of efforts to bridge the internet gap between the served and underserved communities.
As part of the Smart Community Programme, Hotspots will be created at notable public spaces, computers and accessories will be provided to schools while specific local content for digital financial inclusion, e-governance, e-security, e-learning services will be catered for.
Ultimately, the project is also aimed at creating jobs, especially within the Zongos and cocoa areas of the beneficiary communities. A total of 200 digital kiosks will be established across beneficiary communities and will be manned by 200 trained sales agents.
The Smart Community Project is one of the initiatives of government to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the ICT for Accelerated Development policy of Ghana, and the International Telecommunications Union targets.
It revolves around five main interventions namely the Digital for Inclusion project, Broadband connectivity, Local Cloud services, Cocoa Areas connectivity project and the Zongos (Inner City) Connectivity.