Ama Pomaa Boateng (3rd from right), Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, with Prince Ofosu Sefah (2nd from right), Administrator, GIFEC, Isaac Emmil Osei Bonsu Jnr (4th from left), Board Chairman, NCA, Abdourahamane Diallo (3rd from left), UNESCO Country representative, and Prof. Ezer Osei Yeboah-Boateng (2nd from left), Deputy Director-General in charge of Technical Operations, NCA. With them are other dignitaries and participants. Picture: ERNEST KODZI
Ama Pomaa Boateng (3rd from right), Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, with Prince Ofosu Sefah (2nd from right), Administrator, GIFEC, Isaac Emmil Osei Bonsu Jnr (4th from left), Board Chairman, NCA, Abdourahamane Diallo (3rd from left), UNESCO Country representative, and Prof. Ezer Osei Yeboah-Boateng (2nd from left), Deputy Director-General in charge of Technical Operations, NCA. With them are other dignitaries and participants. Picture: ERNEST KODZI

Internet subscription hits 22.8 million "Govt seeks private partnership for expansion"

Ghana’s internet subscription has reached 22.8 million this year, an increase from the 16.99 million subscribers recorded in January last year.

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This means the country’s internet penetration rate rose from 53.0 per cent to 71.94 per cent within a year.

The rise of internet connectivity has influenced online business transactions, with a large percentage of the population conducting businesses online and paying for goods and services using mobile money platforms, ushering in a cash-lite system envisaged by the government.

Ama Pomaa Boateng (3rd from right), Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, with Prince Ofosu Sefah (2nd from right), Administrator, GIFEC, Isaac Emmil Osei Bonsu Jnr (4th from left), Board Chairman, NCA, Abdourahamane Diallo (3rd from left), UNESCO Country representative, and Prof. Ezer Osei Yeboah-Boateng (2nd from left), Deputy Director-General in charge of Technical Operations, NCA. With them are other dignitaries and participants. Picture: ERNEST KODZI

The Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Joe Anokye, who made this known, said the leap was a major boost in internet connectivity compared to previous years.

Mr Anokye was speaking at a ceremony to mark World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD) 2023 in Accra today (Wednesday).

It was held on the theme “Public -Private Partnership to improve connectivity”.

The WTISD was set aside by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 1969 and is marked annually by the global telecommunications industry.

This year’s celebration is focused on empowering the least developed countries through information and communication technologies.

Present at the ceremony were the Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ama Pomaa Boateng, the Board Chairman of the NCA, Isaac Emmil Osei -Bonsu and the Chief Executive Officer of MTN, Selorm Adadevoh.

Also present were the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AirtelTigo, Leo Skarlatos, the Country Representative of UNESCO, Abdourahamane Diallo and the Head of the International Affairs Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation, Kwame Baah-Acheamfour.

While the increase in internet connectivity is an indicator of progress in the telecommunication sector, Mr Anokye said there was still room for improvement and called on the private sector to partner with the government to invest in the communications sector to achieve a digitally robust and secure economy.

He said the government recognised the need for such partnership and had, therefore, created an enabling environment for investment and for the private sector to thrive.

Key to the government’s intervention, he said, was the passage of the PPP Act 2020, Act 1039, which provided development through collaboration among public authorities and private parties for the provision of infrastructure and services.

“The government has over the years been pushing the digital agenda which aims at bridging the digital divide and improving digital literacy and access to connectivity,” he said.

Ama Pomaa Boateng - Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitalisation

Infrastructure expansion

To help position the sector for accelerated development, Ms Boateng said the government was making significant investments to connect the entire country to both voice and data service.

She said from 2020 to 2022, 1008 rural sites had been constructed for voice and data nationwide and that many communities had already benefited from the sites.  

The government, she said, was optimistic that out of the 1008 remaining sites to be completed, 560 rural sites would be completed by the end of this year.

She explained that the provision of connectivity had an accompaniment of usage; hence, a need to expand connectivity to rope, every one, into the digital world.

“We must not lose sight of the fact that we need to close the technology usage gap, there is the need for more investments to ensure that everyone has access to Information Communication Technology tools.

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“Citizens must have access devices to be able to interact meaningfully and also transact public and private services online without any barriers,” she said.

Investments

Ms Boateng said the government would not relent on its promise to ensure that no one was left behind in getting access to voice and data services.

Already, she said the government had committed $ 2.6 million to establish innovation centres and was training about 3,000 people by 2024 while the ministry also had an agreement with the Smart Africa Alliance through the Smart Africa Digital Academy to train up to 22,000 people by 2023.

 Beyond that, she said the Universal Access Fund Administration operated over 220 community ICT centres across rural communities in the country that were used for capacity building, skills training and business advisory services.

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Isaac Emmil Osei Bonsu Jnr - Board Chairman of NCA

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