The participants after the workshop
The participants after the workshop
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Make Internet cheaper to expand access - Govt, providers urged

A Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr Simon-Peter Kafui, has called on the government and stakeholders to make internet cheaper to help expand access for the public. 

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He said this could be done through policies that allowed for open access to Internet in public places and the sharing of educational resources across various tertiary institutions, among others.

He further stressed the need to make persons using the internet for educational purposes pay less than those using it for commercial purposes. “There should be a different cost for someone using the internet for educational purposes from someone using the internet for commercial purposes. We shouldn’t pay the same rate,” Dr Kafui, who is also the leader of the team that assessed Ghana's Internet Universality Indicators (IUl) Report, said. 

Highlight

The assessment, which was conducted with support from UNESCO and GIFEC, seeks to provide a clear understanding of the national internet environment, as well as the country’s internet policies that contribute to sustainable development.

While the report, which was launched in Accra, notes that the internet regulatory regime operates within the law, accessibility remains a challenge among certain categories of people, disability groups and women.

It added that although generally there was an awareness of the internet ecosystem, the report further disclosed that there was no policy on free and open source software. 

DIgital gap

In a speech read on his behalf by the UN Chief of Missions, Ghana, Fatou Diallo Ndiaye, the UN Resident Coordinator, Charles Abani, explained that despite the growing influence of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), a digital divide remained between rural and urban areas.

He added that the expansion of digital platforms introduced new challenges including issues with privacy, freedom of expression, cybersecurity and the spread of misinformation and disinformation.

He said the strategic role of the Ministry of Communication and Digitalisation was a clear priority invitation of digital transformation as the cornerstone for national development to help some of these gaps. 

Commendation

The acting Administrator of GIFEC, Eva Andoh-Poku, commended the team for the completion of the project, adding that the assessment placed Ghana among the very few countries that had taken the lead and completed the task, with about 34 countries progressing steadily toward completion.

Highlighting some strides made by GIFEC to help address some of the gaps, she said her outfit had implemented a campaign for efficient tools for youth to conquer violent extremism, which aimed at combating hate speech.

She added that they also campaigned to encourage female participation in the digitalisation process, introducing the ICT Skills for Entrepreneurial and Women Empowerment Programme to equip women entrepreneurs with ICT skills to help enhance their economic welfare.

Strategy

For his part, the Chief Programme Officer, Ghana Commission for UNESCO, Apollonius Akoto Osei Asare, stressed the need to adopt strategies that would not only bridge the digital divide but also propel the country towards a future where information and communication technology was a driving force for development and empowerment.

"As we celebrate this achievement, let us also reaffirm our dedication to ensuring that every Ghanaian has the tools and opportunities to thrive in the digital age," he said. 

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