The World Bank has pledged to support Ghana in four thematic areas: capacity-building, regulatory framework, digital platforms and infrastructure enhancements, as part of a Digital Infrastructure Moonshot for Africa.
The pledge came after Ghana’s Communication Minister, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful asked for assistance from the Bretton Woods institution toward the expansion of the e-Transform Project and other government of Ghana programmes aimed at bridging the country’s digital divide.
Responding to the Minister’s request when he paid a courtesy call on her on Tuesday, 26 March 2019, the World Bank’s Vice-President for Africa, Hafez Ghanem, said: “What we are going to do is to support you in four areas: enhancing infrastructure, regulatory framework to increase competition and improve service delivery; capacity-building and digital platforms to ensure the government of Ghana’s realisation of its agenda to digitise every facet of the country”.
Zeroing in on the government of Ghana’s digitisation agenda, Vice-President Ghanem observed that the success of the digitisation agenda will bring about unparalleled efficiency in all public and private institutions as well as help in effective clamping down on corruption.
“We are convinced that we can use digital technology to improve governance, to reduce corruption, to improve transparency, among others. It is really a strong instrument in improving governance”, he added.
He urged the Communication Minister to forward a proposal to the World Bank for consideration, saying: “We are happy to support you”, to the delight of Mrs Owusu-Ekuful.
Vice-President Ghanem also expressed his frustration with the high cost of internet in low- to middle-income countries including Ghana and urged the Communication Minister to adopt measures to bring the cost down.
Research findings released in October 2018 by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) showed that more than 2.3 billion people live in countries where just 1GB of mobile data is not affordable.
In her response, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the government of Ghana has already begun processes aimed at slashing the cost of internet in the country
She said there will be an industry forum early next month to forge consensus on the way forward.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful also stated that a high-level engagement with the regulator and the industry operators had been ongoing for some time now to promote greater infrastructure-sharing and competition, with the aim of forcing the internet cost to fall.
“There’s a huge appetite for data in this country, which we are not being able to meet and, so, we see that there’s an opportunity, there’s a commercial opportunity for the private sector to also take advantage of.
“So, we have begun having meetings around several issues including sim registration, equipment identity registration, among others, to clean up that space and make it more secure and less easy for people to use their devices for formulating criminal activities. We are going to have an industry forum early next month to put all these conversations forward and force a consensus on the way to go,” she added.
Source: Ministry of Communication