Ursula Owusu-Ekuful — Minister of Communications and Digitalisation
The government, through the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), has constructed 1,003 rural telephony sites under the Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion Project.
This has benefitted 1,353 rural communities that can now make calls and use the internet via their mobile phones, thereby opening huge possibilities for social and economic activities.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, who disclosed this in the 2023 Budget Statement and Government Economic Policy, said this would also help extend aerial fibre coverage by 1,300km as backhaul to rural communities.
This, he said, would improve quality of service and customer experience.
Mobile communication, including cellphones, internet access and wireless telecommunications in rural communities are essential to private and public sectors.
Residents, businesses, governmental agencies and emergency service personnel need access to reliable connectivity to promote safety and streamline operations.
A reliable connection can also promote better business practices, enable digital learning and foster a stronger community in developing countries such as Ghana.
To further that agenda, the government is set to provide 700 additional sites under its rural telephony project dubbed, The Ghana Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion Project, for voice and data services next year.
The move by the government is to ensure reliable, affordable and secured broadband infrastructure to 4,000 rural communities.
The minister said to empower girls and young women to take up careers in information communication and technology (ICT), the Girls-In-ICT initiative trained 3,000 girls and 300 teachers at the basic school level.
“In 2023, the programme will be scaled up to the senior high school (SHS) level, targeting 100,000 girls and young women,” he added.
As part of efforts towards achieving ‘Goal 4’ of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – Ensuring Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Promoting Lifelong Learning Opportunities for all, he said the government established 1,030 ICT labs for 80 SHSs, 947 JHSs, and three Nursing Colleges.
The centres were to serve as access points providing ICT services to more than 240,000 students under the School Connectivity Programme.
Mr Ofori-Atta said in 2023, the government will equip 120 additional schools (40 SHS and 80 Basic) with ICT laboratories, adding that “special consideration will be given to schools of the 2022 winners of the Girls-In-ICT Initiative competitions.”
Under the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) project, the minister said 10 sites were deployed with stand-alone solar power supply systems to ensure clean, stable and reliable power to protect the transmission equipment.
He said in 2023, the Ministry will continue the deployment of the power supply systems to the DTT sites.