World Telecommunications and Information Society Day

 

Ministry of Communications celebrates World Telecommunications and Information Society Day with a message from the Minister, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (MP).

WORLD TELECOMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION SOCIETY DAY 2020,

‘ICTs For Sustainable Development Goals’

Message from the Minister for Communications, Ghana,

MRS. URSULA OWUSU-EKUFUL (MP)

 

We celebrate World Telecommunications and Information Society Day under the cloud of a pandemic – COVID – 19, that has brought us to a new way of life including social distancing with its impact on the way we socialize and work. Social distancing has become necessary to help halt the spread of the virus and ICT has become the enabler of this new way of life. Today, over 65% of Ghana’s population own mobile communication devices; the industry has a 95% penetration for 2G/3G data services, whiles 8.51% of the population have access to 4G services. The Broadcasting subsector also has over 350 FM stations with similar growth reflected in the TV broadcasting industry. We have come a long way; but still have more miles to cover. Some activities undertaken by agencies in this sector are outlined below:

Decent Work and Economic Growth

The Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), an agency under MoC, is ensuring Universal Broadband Service and access to underserved and unserved communities. Through these initiatives, GIFEC in partnership with Huawei, MTN and Vodafone through the Rural Telephony connectivity program (RTP) has connected over 2000 rural communities with 506 sites, resulting in the improvements of the livelihoods of over 1.2 million beneficiaries especially in the informal sector. This has been done through the provision of employment and improvement of quality of life for individuals, families and their communities. The RTP uses solar power or hybrid solar with national grid to ensure affordable and clean energy. This initiative is being scaled up to connect over 3,000 more communities in the next two years.

Quality Education, Gender Equality and Reduced Inequalities

With the interventions of the Kofi Annan ICT Center for Excellence, Ghana Telecom University College, Accra Digital Center, National Information Technology Agency (NITA) and GIFEC, digitization is being leveraged to make digital literacy accessible to people in every part of the country. The MoC has spearheaded the introduction of ICT studies in coding and web designing to young girls in the rural areas through the Girls In ICT and Ms. Geek Ghana programmes. The ongoing GIFEC school connectivity project is being expanded to every public Basic School, Senior High School, College of Education, District/ Municipal/ Metro Education Offices as well as Regional Education Directorates to facilitate quality online education.

As part of efforts to bridge the gender digital divide, GIFEC and Accra Digital Center have provided numerous digital literacy programs for young entrepreneurial adults in the formal and informal sectors. Over 400,000 people including hairdressers, dressmakers, artisans have been given digital literacy skills. Teachers in basic and 2nd cycle public schools have undergone ICT training whiles cyber labs have been established in their schools. The visually impaired also have access to cyber labs with assistive technology.

Responsible consumption and production; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

The National Communications Authority (NCA) as the Telecom sector regulator, supports baseline studies to provide data for progressive policies on internet devices and usage. as well as provide directives and guidelines to regulate services provided by the voice and data service providers, and broadcasting stations – TV and FM. The regulator’s Type Approval Labs guarantee the manufacturing and importation of internationally and nationally certified electronic communication devices and equipment into the country. The Common Platform also provides an adequate medium for monitoring and ensuring quality of service for the telecommunication space. GIFEC is working with UNESCO, ITU, Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT and Ghana Library Authority have devised sustainable solutions to bridge the digital divide.

Climate Action & Sustainable Cities and Communities

To promote Climate Action, the NCA operates a world-class laboratory, which tests Electronic Communication Equipment such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, imported into the country to ensure international standards. The laboratory also addresses public health and safety concerns regarding emissions especially from telecommunication masts. As a policy contribution towards Connect 2030, all electronic communications equipment must be registered to ensure that at the end of its lifespan it is disposed appropriately under e-waste policies and practices. The Ministry is also supporting sustainable resilience by providing the National Disaster Management with reliable emergency toll free numbers such as the 112 and the recently introduced 769 for COVI-19 tracking and contact tracing. The digitization coin has two sides. It is beneficial but cybercrime is an attendant risk as the two go hand in hand. To support and secure all these digital intervention, activities and initiatives, the National Cyber Security Center through its operations and advisories functions to keep the digital environment secure for all Ghanaians. In this new period of COVID-19, the use and need for ICT has become critical. The world now depends greatly on ICT platforms, infrastructure, applications, data services and so much more to share data, information, knowledge and experiences which is proving vital to sustaining our existence. Digitization is the glue that keeps the world moving. The normal working process has changed due to the need for social distancing; and digitization has saved the day. Ghana, under the leadership of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo - who is also the cochair of the United Nations Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)- today, joins other members of the International Telecommunication Union to celebrate the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. Together we embrace the ‘Decade of Action’; together we can advance the role of ICTs in Ghana through homegrown solutions and partnerships; and together we can see to attaining the SDGs by 2030. Wishing us all a safe World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

 

MRS. URSULA OWUSU-EKUFUL (MP)

MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS