The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Hon. Ursla Owusu-Ekuful has disclosed that, since 2017, about 10,800 girls and 700 teachers have been trained in basic ICT skills and coding. “The Ministry’s flagship projects, Digital Communities and Girls in ICT programs, aim to whip up the interest of pupils in ICT-related programs from an early age and direct them towards careers in the ICT field”.
This was made known on her behalf by the Deputy Minister for Communications and Digitalisation at this year’s World Telecommunications and Information Society Day celebration held in Accra.
The theme for this year’s celebration is, “Empowering the least developed countries through Information and Communications Technologies (ICT)”.
Hon. Ursla Owusu further revealed that, Government has committed $2.6 million to innovation centers and is training 3,000 people by 2024 added that, the Ministry also has gone into agreement with the Smart Africa Alliance through the Smart Africa Digital Academy to train up to 22,000 people by 2023.
“Also, the Universal Access Fund Administration operates over 220 community ICT centers across rural communities that are used for capacity building, skill training, and business advisory services”.
Ghana she indicated being part of the least Developed Countries, appreciates the challenges facing countries and would ensure the uptake and utilization of ICTs in the development agenda.
Hon. Ursla Owusu pointed out that globally, it is estimated by the United Nations and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that, over 2.7 billion people in the world are unconnected.
He said, Government has made it a priority to invest in ICT infrastructure to ensure universal connectivity.
“From 2020 to 2022 thousand and eight (1008) rural sites have been constructed for voice and data nationwide and Many communities have already benefited and connected as we speak. We are optimistic that out of the one thousand and eight (1008) remaining sites to be completed. Five hundred and sixty (560) rural sites will be completed by the end of the year”.
According to her, there is the need to close the technology usage gap likewise, the need for more investments to ensure that everyone has access to Information Communication Technology tools.
Government she mentioned, has established a National Roaming policy to address some of the challenges of network coverage and their impact on telephone consumers.
“The Ministry is also developing the Digital Economy Policy and one of the priority pillars is Digital Skills to give policy focus and intervention to address that challenges”.
She encouraged the private sector players to join Government in heeding the ITU’s call for pledges for universal connectivity and digital transformation through its Partner 2 Connect Digital Coalition with a focus aligned with the theme of this year’s celebration “.
On his part, the Director General National Communications Authority (NCA), Mr. Joe Anokye indicated that, currently, there are forty-six (46) countries in the world that have been declared by the United Nations as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) saying, fortunately, Ghana is not listed as an LDC.
The Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation he averred, has over the past years been pushing the Digital Agenda aiming at bridging the digital divide and improving digital literacy and access to connectivity.
“We cannot celebrate the successes chalked in these projects without the mention of our private sector constituents who have always supported these works. The aim is to bring everyone including the marginalized and vulnerable groups who are often the least connected online “.
He therefore, call on all their constituents to continue to support government’s policy directives.” Please be assured that the Regulator is committed to its mandate of regulating electronic communications activities and services in the country in a forward-looking and transparent manner that will encourage investment and protect stakeholders’ interest”.