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30.03.2006 Regional News

Develop statistics on ICT and its impact on society

By GNA

Accra March 30, GNA - Mrs Aida Opuku-Mensah, Representative of the United Nations Economic Community for Africa (UNECA), on Thursday asked the Ghana Statistical Service to develop statistics on Information Communication Technology (ICT) and its impact on society. She further urged the Service to come out with a National ICT strategy to empower decision makers in the application of ICT in decision-making thus using ICT to accelerate socio-economic growth in Ghana.

Mrs Opoku-Mensah was speaking at a day's workshop on the theme: "The ICT4D Process and the Emergence of the Information Society and Economy" which brought together key local and international stakeholders from the public and private sectors to share experiences on the development of ICT indicators in sectors like education, e-commerce and the economy as a whole.

The workshop is a follow up on the Ghana Scan ICT Technical workshop aimed at assisting African countries to support the ICT for Development (ICT4D) initiatives into the national statistical system. The second phase, which is being piloted in six African countries, including Ghana, Senegal, Morocco, Ethiopia, Uganda and Mozambique is designed to facilitate the process of mainstreaming ICT4D indicators into national statistical data collection system, to plan implementation monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment.

Mrs Opoku-Mensah announced that a series of capacity building programmes would be organized to enhance the competence of stakeholders in their activities geared towards the implementation of the World Summit on Information Society's (WSIS) plan of action on ICT indicators. The WSIS plan of action aims among other things to develop tools to provide statistical information on the information society, with basic indicators and analysis of its key dimensions with priorities given to setting up coherent and internationally comparable indicator systems, taking into account different levels of development.

Dr Grace Bediako, Government Statistician, said data were essential tools to assess the current state in the use of ICT, for instance knowing the percentage of household with radio, television, computers and Internet facilities.

Professor Nsowah Nuamah, Deputy Government Statistician, who chaired the opening, noted that statistics was the science of data, since data was just crude information and not knowledge by itself. He said how to make data relevant to the statistical Service's programme was vital, and noted that understanding data was crucial to understanding the result.

"Statistics is the brain of the economy and ICT is the spinal cord so they work hand in hand," Prof Nuamah said. 30 March 06

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