10 January 2014

Ghana: Gov't to Use ICT to Aid Development

Dr. Edward Kofi OmaneBoamah, the Minister of Communication, has said there is the need to use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in all aspects of national life to accelerate growth.

He said the government recognised the indispensable role of ICT in speeding up national development and was, therefore, fixing ICT infrastructure at all national levels.

Addressing 178 participants at the 65th Annual New Year School on Wednesday, at the University of Ghana on the topic: 'ICT infrastructure and the future,' Dr. Boamah said a robust ICT infrastructure was paramount to propel national growth.

The New Year School, organised by the Institute of Continuing and Distance Education of the University of Ghana, is on the theme: 'Information and Communication Technology-driven education for sustainable human development: Challenges and Prospects.'

The Institute intends to focus on ICT and national development for the next five years to drive the transformation of key sectors of the national economy.

Dr. Boamah said the government was committed to developing a holistic ICT infrastructure towards sustainable growth. He said a 37 million dollar electronic transformation project that centered on health, education, security, justice and businesses had already been initiated.

Work on the construction of a 780km eastern corridor Fibre Project was progressing steadily while the Ministry also conducted regular tour to telecom companies on the provision of quality services, he said.

"Government has invested in internet service to reduce cost of services which has seen bandwidth prices reducing considerably from 10,000 dollars in 2007 to 1,200 dollars in 2013," he said.

"Infrastructure initiatives, including 12,000 LAN Ports have been embarked on in 23 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies while network expansion is vigorously pursued for Schools, Police stations, hospitals."

He said to enhance government business services, it had commenced automation of business registration, marriage registration, birth and death registration, communication service licensing, police Criminal Investigation Department background checks, passport renewal and driving and vehicle licensing renewal.

"The electronic transformation has also been prioritized to enhance the conduct of parliament business and the justice systems", he said, and expressed satisfaction that Ghana was on track to migrate from the analogue to digital by December 2014, one year ahead of the international deadline.

In promoting community access to ICT, he said, the government had established 93 Community Information Centers across the country and 34 more would be put up this year to train basic education students on ICT usage.

Dr. Boamah said with the nationwide development of state of the art ICT infrastructure being pursued, ICT content, payment for services, awareness creation, cyber security and protection of children from exploitation, posed serious challenges and called on stakeholders to support government's effort at making ICT a driver of national development agenda.


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