17.05.2005 General News

Ghana observes World Telecoms Day

Ghana observes World Telecoms Day
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Accra, May 17, GNA - Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Communications on Tuesday called on stakeholders in communication to forge partnerships that would bring affordable and accessible information Communication Technology (ICT) to both the rich and the poor. "Given the importance of the ICT Sector, the provision of universal access and the opening of new economic opportunities will make the necessary impact in pushing back the frontiers of poverty and consolidation of good governance and democracy in the country", Mr Kan-Dapaah explained. Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the World Telecommunication Day, which falls on May 17 each year, Mr Kan-Dapaah challenged policy makers, regulators, service providers and the consuming public to join hands to ensure that the benefits of ICT were ubiquitously made available for the people of Ghana. The day, which marks the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is being observed worldwide under the theme: "Creating an Equitable Information Society: Time for Action". The day is set aside to engage the world in efforts to harness the power of technology through radio, telephone, television broadcasting and the Internet to fulfil the basic human need for communication. As Ghana observed the Day with a flag-raising ceremony and a Consumer Assembly with a novelty on the theme: "Towards the Protection of Consumers Right", Mr Kan-Dappah commended the private sector for its active involvement in ensuring the steady growth of the sector. He said at present, the communications landscape of Ghana had three national fixed network operators, four national mobile cellular network, 151 Internet data service providers, 162 VSAT Data operators, 140 Frequency Modulation stations, 83 public/corporate Data Operators, 28 television stations and 166 telecommunication equipment dealers. He, however, said despite the modest accomplishments in our communications sector, there were critical issues such as improving accessibility to telephone facilities, especially in rural areas, provision of an open, affordable and adequate communications backbone for the usage of the Internet and reducing bandwidth costs. Facilitating massive deployment of ICT in Schools, governance and commerce, ensuring improvement in quality services and developing the ICT skilled human resources were other issues confronting the Sector. The Minister said the Government, was not daunted in its efforts to improve infrastructure with the help of its partners, but would intensify work on the provision of community access points through the construction of Community Information Centres to help to build awareness among the people towards the application of new technologies. Major J. R. K. Tandoh (rtd), Director-General of National Communication Authority (NCA), said with the adoption of the national telecommunications policy by Parliament in January this year, the Authority had been strengthened to perform its regulatory role effectively.
He said the policy not only gave a new image to the NCA but also gave both the NCA and the operators a clear policy direction to provide services to the people.
Major Tandoh said in response to the directive in the Policy, the NCA in a couple of days would hold the first national stakeholders consultative forum in Accra to deliberate on aspects pertaining to fixed line services, voice over-IP, pre-paid calling cards and construction of fibre optic backbone infrastructure. He said the Consumer Assembly that was organise as part of this year's celebration was in response to the policy direction of Government to the effect that consumers should be educated to know their rights and obligations. He said consumers would be educated on the Right to be informed, Right to Safety, Right to Choice and the Right to be Heard. 17 May, 05 UN Secretary-General addresses World Telecommunications Day Accra, May 17, GNA - The United Nations Secretary-General, Busumuru Kofi Annan, on Tuesday called on Member States and stakeholders to reaffirm their commitment to the telecommunications sector. In a statement read on his behalf at a flag-raising ceremony to commemorate World Telecommunications Day in Accra, the UN Secretary-General charged stakeholders to bridge technological gaps and promote interconnectivity for all.

The theme for the day is: "Creating an Equitable Information Society - Time for Action".

Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, Minister of Communications; Acting Director-General of National Communications Authority, Major J. R. K. Tandoh (rtd) and stakeholders of the Telecommunication Sector attended the ceremony.

Busumuru Annan said: We live in an age in which communication between people is essential in achieving our shared goals of development and peaceful coexistence.

" It is up to us to harness the potential of these technologies in our work to extend the benefits of education, health care, trade and environmental protection to all."

He called for concerted efforts to shape the vision adopted at the first phase of the World Summit on Information Society in 2003. He urged member states and all stakeholders to reaffirm their commitment to the process and participate at the highest levels when the Summit reconvenes in Tunis in November 2005.

He said efforts to build an equitable and accessible information society depended on the strength of partnership between governments, civil society and businesses, underpinned by the support of international organizations like the UN. 17 May 05

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