Ghana has joined the rest of the world to observe the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) on 17th May 2018, which is celebrated annually.
Speaking at this year’s event in Accra at the National Communications Authority (NCA) on a theme “Enabling the positive use of Artificial Intelligence for all” which was best chosen by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a Deputy Minister for Communications George Andah, indicated that, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a highly complex technology that allows computers to function like the human brain.
He said “This technology has been successfully applied to societal problems and it has a great potential to promote social good in the future. It is interesting to note that, two very successful consumer led business solutions Uber and AirBnB own no taxi or apartment themselves but through the use of AI (apps that gather intelligence on customers and how to provide solutions), they are able to run successful business even in Ghana. Trotro Tractor in another existing solution applying AI right at our doorstep and I can’t wait to hear his story one more time”
The ITU, Mr. Andah said is encouraging the membership of the Union to focus on the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate the SDGs by 2030. Indicating that, “To be able to achieve this feat, Government of Ghana must create the appropriate, desired and needed ecosystem for AI to thrive.
He further noted that, ” In order to create a positive enabling environment for the use of AI in Ghana, priority must build solid ICT infrastructure so that, AI can be developed with complementary private sector investment in providing redundancy and adequate capacity in the in-country fiber infrastructure to facilitate the provision of value added services for our people.”
The Minister as well noted that, AI can effectively aid the Agriculture sector through the provision of market information to support farmers to sell their produce and the provision of financial services when consumer data is well analyzed for targeted services to be offered to the citizens.
Also, the installation of smart traffic lights with AI infused information will assist in determining the effective control and operations of the lights during peak times, when there are road blocks, nor accidents and others which will ensure effective traffic management, road development and planning, as well as in the area of education.
The Board Chairman of NCA, Mr. Kwaku Sakyi-Addo in delivering a speech on behalf of the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Mr. Houlin Zhao, he said, AI is now taking the center stage with a lot of impact on people’s lives.
Adding that, AI’s potential power is being exploited and developed at an unprecedented speed. It also brings us many opportunities and challenges, as well as change our economy and society greatly.
“ITU, in its role of specialized UN Agency for ICT services and technologies, whishes to work with Academia, researchers, industries, administrations and Governments, UN Agencies, as well as other stakeholders and partners to facilitate the AI development, to bring the benefits of AI to all.” He emphasised.
The Director General for NCA, Joe Anokye on his part said, technology has changed and continues to change the world at a speed which is increasing by every tick of the clock.
According to him, the change has come to stay and the only thing that is constant today is the change we experience.
Adding that, everything else is in a constant flux. And digital revolution has gotten to a stage where every second counts and failure to stay in tune could be very disastrous for individual and nation.
He also said, ” As a developing country with aspirations to make the lives of our people better, Ghana stands every chance of doing better when greater awareness is created of AI. The more people know of AI and deploy same in their various productive activities, the better it would be for us all as a people. ”
“At NCA, we are leaving no stone unturned at ensuring that, voice and data services are available to the people while at the same time, partnering the appropriate institutions to ensure that the cyberspace of the nation is used efficiently,” He reiterated.
Among notable dignitaries at the occasion were; Director General of GHS Dr. Nsiah Asare, The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Telecommunications Chamber, Kenneth Ashigbey, representative of the UN Secretary Generalizing, Industry Practitioners and Stakeholders, among others.