23 March 2014

Ghana: Rockefeller Foundation's $3.8M Grant Helps Position Ghana to Accelerate Future ICT Job Growth

The Rockefeller Foundation and the World Bank collaborate to empower Ghana’s IT and IT enabled Services Industry to hire Ghanaian youth

Ghana, March 24th, 2014 – The Rockefeller Foundation has announced a $3.8 million grant to the Ghanaian government in partnership with the World Bank to support the establishment of world class facilities that will attract IT and IT enabled firms, including Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms to Ghana and create jobs for Ghanaian youth.

The grant complements the World Bank’s US$5 million provided under the eGhana Project and is part of the Foundation’s Digital Jobs Africa initiative launched in 2013; the initiative is a $100million initiative aimed at improving 1 million lives through ICT skills and jobs for high potential but disadvantaged youth.

As a result of this grant, a new mini ICT Park to be located in central Accra will be completed by August of this year, and is expected to have the potential of providing direct and indirect employment to over 10,000 people, primarily youth, who have few alternative job opportunities.

Recent research funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and issued by the Dalberg Institute identifies access to real estate as the primary barrier to expanding the BPO sector in Ghana, and thus hinders creation of new jobs for an increasingly unemployed youth population. This grant will help address that constraint directly by providing the funds for the Ghanaian government to create a world class Facility. The proposed centre is expected to function as a mini-ICT park, whose impact is expected to move Ghana up the ranking among the Tier 2 countries, but most importantly the IT and IT enabled services (ITES) sector is deemed most likely to absorb large numbers of unemployed and disadvantaged youth.

“As the Rockefeller Foundation enters its second year of our $100m Digital Jobs Africa initiative, we applaud the commitment of the Ghanaian government for steering the hiring at this new state of the art ICT Park towards poor and vulnerable youth – which will help to achieve our ultimate goal of impacting the lives of 1 million people through digital jobs for disadvantaged youth. This project will transform the landscape of Ghana’s IT /ITES sector while ensuring that disadvantaged youth are the ultimate beneficiaries. When young people are empowered economically, the entire nation will benefit,” said Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Digital Jobs Africa initiative is being implemented in six countries in Africa - Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and Morocco.

The grant follows on from the Foundation’s 2012 support to the Ghana ITES Secretariat, a World Bank seeded implementing agency under the Ministry of Communication, to train and employ 150 youth to digitize government records. In September 2013, the World Bank approved the $97 million eTransform project which builds on the earlier eGhana project. Both projects seek to use ICT to improve the reach and efficiency of private and public service delivery and create jobs. The ICT Park is an important piece of the World Bank’s support of Ghana’s ICT strategy.

The Rockefeller Foundation support of the mini ICT Park leverages the World Bank funding and is designed to catalyze additional funding to support Ghana’s potential to employ disadvantaged youth in the digital economy.

Dr. Edward K. Omane Boamah, Ghana’s Minister of Communications commented, “We were pleased that the Rockefeller Foundation shared our vision around Ghana’s ICT potential. Not only can we transform the ICT sector, making Ghana internationally competitive, we can provide opportunities for hundreds of disadvantaged young people who have the skills and drive to work in the digital economy, but are only lacking the access and opportunity.”

About The Rockefeller Foundation

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas – advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities – to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot – or will not. For more information, please visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org

About the Ghana Ministry of Communications

The Ministry of Communications (MoC) has the core responsibility for initiating and developing national policies aimed at achieving cost effective information and communications infrastructure and services, for the enhancement and promotion of economic competitiveness in line with the policy guidelines of the Medium Term National Development Policy Framework (MTNDPF) 2014-2017. In furtherance of this the MoC is pursuing a vision for the ICT sector that will promote the effective use of ICT for comprehensive national development that will bridge the digital divide between the rural and urban communities, and also between Ghana and the rest of the world. The dynamic nature of the communications industry globally continues to have far reaching consequences for the ICT/Telecom sector policy development in Ghana and indeed the socio-economic well-being of this country. Stemming from this global trend in ICT and taking into account Ghana’s ICT for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD) Policy, the Ministry is also giving technical and strategic attention to the development of ICT Human Resource base and provision of relevant skills to transform the sector in a competitive, proactive and integrated manner. For more information, please visit www.moc.gov.gh

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