The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has made Ghana a beneficiary of the Digital Transformation Centres (DTCs) Initiative launched in partnership with International Software Company, Cisco.
The Initiative seeks to create a global network of centres, whose main purpose is to develop digital skills mainly at the basic and intermediate levels for citizens.
It is also to contribute to the broader goal of building an inclusive digital society and ensuring that lack of knowledge and skills is not a barrier to participation in the digital economy.
An agreement was signed virtually between the ITU and the Norwegian and Ghana governments to support the DTCs here.
The Centres will deliver basic digital skills training to enhance digital literacy, improve workplace efficiency and enhance chances of employability.
It will also improve the capacity of policymakers to design and implement digital skills programmes, conduct training-the-trainers’ workshops on digital skills to ensure scalability and self-sustainability.
Nine DTCs have been selected for the first phase, which will run for 21 months, from January 2020 to end of September 2021.
The nine DTCs have been selected from Africa (four), Americas (two), and Asia Pacific (three) regions.
The implementing countries include Ghana, Brazil, Rwanda, the Dominican Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia, Indonesia and the Philippians.
Mr Houlin Zhao, the Secretary-General of ITU, said in response to the COVID-19 crisis, DTC trainers would be provided with tools and skills on how to conduct remote teaching.
He said the training-the-trainers online course would be offered in collaboration with Cisco and would be free of charge.
MR Zhao said the initiative was to ensure developing communities had access to connectivity in the digital economy.
“The ITU is committed to creating digital accessibility and connectivity where no one is left behind. Covid-19 has emphasised more on the need for digital connectivity,” he said.
Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications, said for the next three years, more than 14,000 people would benefit from the initiative.
She said 241 community information and communication technology (ICT) centres across the country would be used to train women, traders and anyone interested in developing skills in digitalisation.
She said the Government was in the process of expanding additional access to 2,016 communities to connect some three million people, thereby providing 95 per cent of the populace with voice and data connectivity within the next 18 months.
The Minister said Ghana had the second-highest penetration rate and was the fastest growing mobile money market in Sub-Sahara Africa, according to the Oxford Business Group.
She said it was, therefore, imperative that the country scaled-up efforts to ensure ICT reached everyone living at any part of the country.
“We are building the capacity of persons both within the formal and informal sectors including teachers and students and for the over the past four years, we have trained 502,600 people in ICT programmes,” Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said.
She said the Ministry had instituted the ICT skills for entrepreneurial and women empowerment project in collaboration with United Nations Economic and Social Organisation to provide information technology skills for women and girls in the informal sector.
“We have also trained 81,500 artisans in ICT,” she added.
The Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) is the implementing Agency of the initiative.
The programme will train SMEs in the field of digital technologies, innovation and entrepreneurship. DTCs are selected based on their capacity to deliver training in the specified areas.