Accra, March 22, GNA - Ghana would receive a concessionary loan of 20 million dollars by May 2006 from the Chinese Exim Bank to support the National Communication Backbone Infrastructural Project. The project which was initiated by the Ministry of Communications is to cost 70 million dollars and aims at building a backbone infrastructure for efficient and cost effective telecommunication service through the expansion of optical fibre network through out the country.
At a meeting with the Chinese Exim Bank delegation in Accra on Wednesday, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Communication, appreciated the relationship existing between the two countries and said Ghana was determined to move with the global world in the Information Age and was proud to be recognised as one of the advanced countries in telecommunications development in West Africa. The delegation arrived in Ghana on Tuesday to negotiate and evaluate the project with the Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning
Mr Kan-Dapaah said for the country to further advance in the telecommunications industry, an Electronic-Governance project to cost 30 million dollars, was also initiated to help to improve the delivery of Government services and to facilitate growth of the economy. He said the fibre optic backbone project, which would be in two phases, would begin in the Southern Sector and would later stretch to the North. "We hope the project can kick start by July, this year, and we hope that by the first quarter of next year we can complete that in the North, after our Chinese friends approve of our request", he said. He said Ghana would be the first to implement such a first class project that could be replicated by other African countries.
The project has other objectives such as to generate job opportunities, enhance the delivery of health, education and agricultural services and would be linked to neighbouring countries to facilitate the vision of the economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Mr Zhao Wen Zhang, Vice President of the Bank, who led the delegation, commended Ghana for the rapid development in the telecommunications industry in the Sub-Region. He said the Bank was willing to support the telecommunications industry in the country and urged the Ministry to apply for a preferential buyer's credit, if the loan was inadequate for the project.
Mr Vhang Keyang, Chinese Ambassador, said his country had developed policies to support 100 developing countries, especially those within Sub-Saharan Africa.