Ursula Owusu: Gov’t to roll out rural telephony and digital inclusion project

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The Minister of Communications and Digitisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has disclosed government’s plan to roll out a rural telephony and digital inclusion project to provide connectivity to over 3.4million citizens in rural communities.

This intervention, when completed, will provide new areas of Information Communication Technology (ICT) growth and raise the level of ICT literacy in those communities. It will as well create the platform for the promotion and growth of local start-ups in these communities.

The sector Minister made the disclosure on Wednesday  in a virtual conference for this year’s World Summit on Information Society Forum (WSIS).

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said ensuring efficient connectivity for the citizenry is the priority of the Ministry of Communications and Digitisation and the only way the vision of President Akufo-Addo can be achieved.

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“His Excellency believes that it is through the collective use of ICT that Ghana can position itself to benefit from the 4th Industrial Revolution. As a result, it is important that every Ghanaian, especially the unserved and underserved communities, have access to meaningful connectivity that is affordable and constant. This will facilitate access to information and knowledge which will enable the average Ghanaian to improve and enhance their daily lives,” the Minister said.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful reiterated that government had rolled out national connectivity initiatives, and is poised to implement the ICT4AD policy to promote public and private investment in various modes of infrastructure to support Ghana’s accelerated development agenda.

According to her, the main aim of the policy is to guide all sectors of the economy. She added that Ghana has in place wide spread fibre optic infrastructure and international bandwidth from five submarine optice fibre cables, saying “these are providing adequate bandwidth capacity to support our digitalization agenda.”

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“We have introduced a school connectivity project to facilitate access to the internet. This project makes information easily available to students and teachers to enhance leaning. So far, 411 schools and more schools will be rolled onto the project,” she said.

She said government has established Community ICT Centres (CIC) which serve as community resource centres to provide business services and community development information and also function as information hubs for individuals and educational institutions.

“CICs is also used to train the youth especially the women in these communities to enable them embrace technology and benefit from the many digital initiatives implemented by Government,” she explained.

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Cyberspace protection

Mrs Owusu-Kuful insisted that the online platforms must be safe for all, saying government is promoting and creating awareness on the safe use of the internet as part of the Cyber Security interventions in the country.

“We must sustain the trust to use the internet and the encouragement to provide useful and educative content for all users,” she noted.

She argued that the government has enacted the Cyber Security Law, which will establish a Cyber Security Authority to regulate cyber security activities in the country and foresee to the general protection of citizens in the cyber space.

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