ITU Regional Development Forum Opens In Accra

Government through the Ministry of Communications opened the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Development Forum (RDF) at the Accra International Conference Centre to brainstorm and exchange experiences and best practices in the implementation of Regional Initiatives. The forum was organised as a follow up to the World Telecommunication Development Conference held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2017.The three day forum was on the theme “ICT for SDGs: towards the implementation of WTDC 2017 Outcomes.

In her opening remarks, The Minister for Communications, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful called on stakeholders in the Telecommunications sector to deliberate and to help provide technological inclusion for significant portion of Ghana’s population in terms of Information Communication Technology (ICT).

She said, ICT has become extremely important in every sphere of human life hence, the need to include persons with disabilities and the vulnerable to have access to technology. She urged industry players to put in place structures and measures that would provide or bridge the gender digital divide gap.

“We cannot limit technological advancement to only those in the urban areas, thus expand to include; all the various unserved and underserved communities in the country”, she stressed adding that as part of the Digital Ghana Agenda, Government is embarking on an ambitious infrastructure development program with a national broadband infrastructure and connectivity for the unserved and underserved at the heart of the agenda.

She noted that the introduction of paperless port operations, the integrated e-immigration system, e-procurement, e-parliament, e- justice, e-cabinet and smart work places among other initiatives, which are at various stages of implementation and development of an interoperability system to integrate government databases, represent significant milestones in Ghana’s journey to digitalization.

According to the Minister, it has become imperative to put in place the necessary infrastructure to ensure that Ghanaians in every part of the country have adequate access to ICT services.

She maintained that Africa’s mobile money market has expanded and diversified in recent years and sub- Saharan Africa is leading in the adoption and use of mobile technology to enhance financial services and promote financial inclusion. Mobile money has emerged as a vital tool to extend key services to underserved and unserved communities, complementing the efforts of government and by 2020 there will be over 500 million unique mobile subscribers in the African region and the penetration rate will have risen to 50% according to the GSMA.