The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has said Government is committed to building strong and adequate digital infrastructure in small and underserved communities of the country to ensure that no one was left behind in its digital drive.
According to her, the COVID-19 pandemic and its related online activities had given an added impetus and urgency for the country to improve upon its digital infrastructure.
This, she said would keep the citizenry in touch with global trends and also equip the youth with the skills that would be necessary for the country’s economic transformation.
Mrs Owusu Ekuful said this when she commissioned three ICT Centres in the Assin North and Central Districts of the Central Region to enable students to obtain a variety of other communication-related services that would facilitate electronic learning.
The three centres were commissioned at the Assinman Nursing and Midwifery Training College, Obiri Yeboah Senior High School and the Atonsu MA Primary school with support from the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC).
“We were forced during the lockdown to study remotely, have virtual meetings and talk to loved ones through our phones. But if there is no connectivity, it is not possible to connect and interact virtually. This means that by not having internet connectivity, you are cut off completely from the emerging world of work”, she stated.
The Minister also commissioned a cell site, equipment needed to receive and transmit radio signals for cellular voice and data transmission for residents of Bediadua in the Assin North District.
She said the project formed part of a national Broadband Infrastructure Development Programme for the ICT Sector, with a special focus on providing total connectivity to the unserved and underserved communities in the country.
The exercise, upon completion, would also facilitate national roaming.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful stressed that the focus was to expand digital capacity in unserved and underserved communities to create an enabling environment for research and teleworking to increase employment opportunities for the youth.
“It is the government’s resolve to accelerate the use of digital technology, applications and services at all levels, protect our digital infrastructure and enhance capacity building and digital skills acquisition for our youth”, she indicated, adding, that without connectivity, it would be difficult to have maximum use of the ICT centres and engage in the virtual world.
In that regard, she said a total of 2,016 rural telephony sites were being built across the country where there were connectivity gaps under the Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion Project.
Though the project is yet to be completed, the Government was considering a second phase because that could not be left in the hands of network operators who were only interested in profits, she noted.
Mr Prince Ofosu Sefa, Administrator for the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) mentioned some programmes being rolled out by GIFEC to assist educational institutions and other agencies, especially in underserved communities to facilitate their work.
The Acting Municipal Chief Executive for the Assin Fosu, Mr Nicholas Fiifi Baako commended GIFECT and the Communications Ministry for the initiative and said it would go a long way to improve academic work in the beneficiary schools.