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13.06.2008 Technology

Use ICT to bridge North-South gap – Dr Ntim

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Dr Benjamin Aggrey Ntim, Minister for Communications on Thursday urged researchers and communication experts to adopt strategies that would help close the digital, education and poverty gap between the North and South.
He said if efforts by various state agencies, donor partners and Government should fail then the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to bridge the widening and pervasive poverty could not remain a mirage.
Dr Ntim was addressing a national conference on: "e-Governance in Northern Ghana" aimed at sharing information on the uses of ICT for political inclusion and good governance in Northern Ghana, in Tamale.
The Centre for Information Technologies Research and Development (CITRED), a Tamale-based NGO, organised the conference, which also sought to disseminate findings of a research and to recommend to policy makers strategies for using ICTs to overcome barriers to political inclusion.
The CITRED had been undertaking action research on the topic: "Uses of Information and Communication Technologies for Political Inclusion and Good Governance in Northern Ghana" with target communities in Tolon/Kumbungu District and Tamale Metropolis.
Dr Ntim said for the country to fully promote an information and knowledge society, there was the need to identify men of vision who would understand and appreciate the contribution of ICT for accelerated development.
He said ICT if properly adopted and applied diligently in the Northern Region would enable the area to realise its development potentials and assume its rightful place in the national and the global economy.
Dr Ntim said the National ICT for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD) policy had key priority areas, which included accelerated human resource development, promotion of ICT in education, modernising agriculture and the promotion of national health.
The policy, he said, would also improve national security and e-Governance to help liberate the country from poverty.
Dr Ntim said the Communications Ministry was promoting the development of a shared services infrastructure where other ministries, departments and agencies could share the systems that perform common functions, with the benefit of providing those services more efficiently.
He commended management of CITRED for facilitating bridging of the digital divide between the north and the south and urged them not to relent in their efforts to provide ICT education to all.
Mr Jonnie Akakpo, Team Leader of CITRED, said the revolutionary transformations that occurred in ICTs in the past few decades, had opened new vistas for the enhancement of citizen-leadership engagement for effective governance.
He said people in peri-urban and rural communities were the disadvantaged groups and politically excluded who needed to be brought into the mainstream of good governance through the use of ICTs to obviate cultural and institutional barriers.

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