The World Bank Group today approved 40 million dollars loan to support the Government of Ghana to implement selected components of its Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Accelerated Development Policy.
This policy was completed a few years ago and adopted into Ghana's Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy II. The Bank Group's assistance is, therefore, expected to provide the requisite resources to accelerate policy implementation.
The credit is provided on standard International Development Association (IDA) terms, with a commitment fee of 0.35 per cent, a service charge of 0.75 per cent over a 40 year period of maturity which includes a 10-year grace period.
A statement issued in Accra today said Ghana was one of the first countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to undertake a programme of liberalization in the telecommunications sector in the mid 1990s. Since then, significant improvements have occurred which have led to the growth of the ICT sector, particularly over the past five years.
The result is an unprecedented explosion in overall telephone penetration, from 4.7 per cent in 2003 to 20 per cent in June 2006. The statement said most of the growth was attributed to the mobile phone sector, which had grown from zero to about four million within the past 10 years.
The telecom sector contributed 5.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2004 (up from 1.8 per cent in 2000). “What is most noteworthy in Ghana's ICT development efforts is that, although it has been predominantly private sector led, for years operators in the sector have been lamenting the lack of necessary support from Government to harness these private and individual potentials for the growth of the sector.
“In the light of this, the eGhana Project has been designed particularly to encourage private sector participation,” says Mavis Ampah, the Bank Group's Task Team Leader for the Project.
“The ultimate objective of the Project is to assist the Government of Ghana to generate growth and employment by leveraging ICT and public-private partnerships to develop the Information Technologies Enabled Services Industry and to contribute to improve efficiency and transparency of selected Government functions through e-government applications.
The statement said: “Given the leadership role of the private sector and the critical know-how that it already possesses, it is envisaged that Government would tap this know-how by engaging the private sector very actively in project implementation.”