About two million people in rural communities across Ghana who were otherwise not connected to the internet have now been connected for the first time in 2018, Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has said.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful was speaking in an interview at the just ended International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference in Dubai, adding that the government has plans to connect millions more in the years to come.
She emphasized that technology plays a key role in the development of every country’s economy hence the concrete effort by the government to ensure that the almost 29 million Ghanaians get access to the internet.
“In my opinion, we’re the most important industry in the whole world because we make every other industry work.”
She said, “I think ICTs are indispensable for socio-economic development in every sector because we’re seeing it enhancing education, health, e-commerce and it is making life easier for our peasant farmers around the country, and small businesses are being enabled and facilitated by ICTs.”
The Communications Minister disclosed that Ghana is using its portion of the universal service funds in collaboration with the private sector to deepen connectivity around the countryside.
“We worked with an equipment manufacturer and an IT company and a mobile network operator to develop a unique system which has enabled us to deepen penetration in our rural areas phenomenally. We’re quite proud of it,” she said.
For the Minister, the role of ICTs for development is clear looking at its impact on all sectors of the economy.
She also believes that other countries can learn from the experience in Ghana.
“What a wonderful opportunity the ITU provides for all of us to share experiences to learn from one another and be encouraged when we realize that we are really on the right track and are doing things that have worked in other places or if and when others can also learn from my experiences,” she concluded.