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23.10.2008 Technology

Ghana's Open Mobile Tech Not Good For Economy

By Times Reporter - newtimesonline.com

 Ghana's open mobile technology industry which makes it easier for foreign competitors to penetrate the local market.

     Mr. Ehizogie Binitie, Director of Product Management and Marketing of Rancard, a mobile technology firm, said there was the need to regularise the industry, since this was a threat to local competitors.

     Mr. Binitie expressed the concern in Accra at the opening of this year's Innovative Week (iweek) organised by the Ghana-Indian Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT on Monday.

     The 2008 iweek, the third in a series, was under the theme: 'ICT innovation- with open source and mobile content' to provide a platform for knowledge sharing and networking in the use of ICT for economic growth.

     Touching on the theme,  Mr Binitie further observed that innovation was key for economic growth, especially in the country's quest to attain the annual growth rate of 12 per cent.

     He identified emerging mobile technology as a great potential for development, hence the need for support from industries and government in particular for such innovative drive.

     Mr Binitie said there was also the need to equip the youth, especially university students to get the right tools that would enable them to take good advantage of opportunities in the industry.

     Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, noted that mobile telephony was bringing real change and opening up business opportunities, but the challenge was how to best exploit those opportunities to address societal needs.

     He said  Ghana, for instance, was torn between agro-based economic development and service-oriented development, but the way forward was to embrace both approaches by developing agro-industries using technology based value added services.

     “Studies have shown that a well-designed blend of the two approaches will be optimum in our quest for a more developed society”, the Minister added.

     The use of ICT, he said, would also help to improve initiatives that would turn around the country's century-old society into a more prosperous one.

     The Minister said since accessibility to market has been a major challenge to the country's production processes, often leading to farmers relying on intermediary traders who offered less value, adopting ICT based services such as the stock market would change the trend.

     “ICT will help develop systems that will provide rural production a better access to market, to facilitate competitiveness in the global market.

    Ms Dorothy  Gordon, Director-General of the Kofi Annan ICT Centre, noted that linking all Africans up through technology would empower the continent to address its challenges.

     She said there was therefore the need to design clear policies, investment in research of technology and information systems and more commitment o promoting innovation,

   Ms. Gordon called for capacity building in the continent in order for Africans to take ownership of emerging technologies to create wealth.

    She promised an exciting five-day event this year with well-vested ICT experts form Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya and other countries to speak on e-governance, e-education, the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and business opportunities in Ghana.

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