THE COUNTRY'S telecom sector has experienced significant growth of over 2000 per cent within a period of five years.
Communications Minister, Professor Mike Oquaye, who disclosed this at a press conference in Accra last Friday to launch [email protected] Future Is ICT Initiative, and the first Ghana ICT excellence awards, said the growth was due to expansion in ICT infrastructure development by the government throughout the country.
[email protected] Future Is ICT Initiative is part of the activities drawn-up by the Ministry of Communications to mark Ghana's golden jubilee.
As at the end of 2006, the minister said the total number of telephone subscribers in Ghana had risen to 5,428,000, representing 27.2 per cent, compared to 218,000 in 2000.
Prof Oquaye noted that the government intended to inject more private sector participation into the telecom industry, adding that the privatisation process of Ghana Telecom and Westel were being undertaken accordingly.
In addition, the communications minister stated that his outfit in collaboration with some experts from China had produced a comprehensive rural telephony programme for Ghana.
The programme, among others, is aimed at reducing the rural-urban digital divide to the rural folks.
The rural telephony facility, when linked to the national fibre back-bone network, would aid internet services provision to rural areas, where two-thirds of the people lived.
Government is expecting to receive $150 million Chinese assistance towards the execution of this national project.
Prof Oquaye revealed that the United Nation had chosen Ghana as one of the two countries in Africa to set up science and technology parks.
The aim of the UN-sponsored parks is to stimulate IT, science and technology development in the country.
With regard to the excellence awards, the Minister noted that the award was to share the joy in partnership with private sector industry players, development partners, the academia and the civil society at large. He said the event would be held on May 18, 2007.
“It is important that we recognise the achievement of our pioneers and pace-setters in the sector so we can continue to count on their excellence to encourage others to be motivated,” he said
Prof Oquaye stated that his ministry would use the year-long celebration of the country's golden jubilee to re-focus Ghana's efforts on accelerating the nation's development through ICT.