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28.10.2005 General News

GT to bridge digital divide in rural areas with e-CARE

By GNA
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Accra, Oct. 28, GNA - Ghana Telecom Company has initiated a project in electronic Commerce and Renewable Energy (e-CARE) that provides ICT training to indigenous entrepreneur, who would bridge the digital divide in the rural areas.

The project, which has already began on pilot basis in some regions is expected to get rural people out of their technological doldrums by establishing business centres powered by renewable solar energy systems in deprived communities.

Speaking on Friday at the closing ceremony of 19 newly trained entrepreneurs to carry out the project in the Greater, Western, Eastern, Volta and Central Regions, Dr Osei Darkwa, Principal of the Ghana Telecom University College, said the project was an experiment in democratising technological skills.

He explained that the e-CARE centres were equipped with telephones, computers, printers and Internet access where trained entrepreneurs would provide such services to the rural folks.

Mr Darkwa said for about 70 per cent majority of Ghanaians that lived in small and rural communities, most were on the wrong side of what has come to be known as the digital divide.

This according to him was a situation where people had a disproportionate access to information and communication technologies. The project is to link economic and social development at the community level with emerging opportunities in such areas as electronic democracy, rural telephony, community and civic networks, self-help, advocacy and cultural enhancement.

Ms Anita Skagnaes, the Project Manager, said Telecom Management Partner and United Nations Foundation with a local NGO; first initiated e-CARE in December 2003 with Kumasi Institute of Technology and Environment (KITE) as the implementer.

She said Ghana telecom adopted the project as part of its corporate social responsibility portfolio under the concept of providing infrastructure for information and communication access in deprived communities using renewable energy.

Ms Skagnaes said the idea again was to provide not only training but also financial support to rural and peri-urban entrepreneurs to deliver ICT products and clean energy services in e-CARE Rural business centres.

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