The Minister of Communications Hon. Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has said that Ghana’s performance in internet usage has improved tremendously and that Government would work hard to ensure that more people have access to the internet. Speaking at a one-day stakeholder meeting organized by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), Ghana Coalition, at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, the Minister called upon service providers to consider economics of scale, because when the cost of Internet is reduced more people will use the service and they the providers will generate more profit, adding that “GIFEC is building the infrastructure and removing other barriers in the rural communities to enable the service providers extend their services there”.
According to the Coalition more than half of the world’s population equivalent to over 4 billion people is not connected to the Internet. This is attributed to the high cost associated in the purchase of internet bandwidth hence the formation of the Alliance for Affordable Internet, Ghana Coalition, with responsibility of working to make broadband affordable for all.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Kwaku Ofosu-Adarkwa, a Public Policy development, management and reform specialist and the National Coordinator for Alliance for Affordable Internet reiterated the need to make internet affordable for all. He urged stakeholders to support the coalition in its effort of making internet affordable to all Ghanaians, and the need to help reduce the cost of internet to the benefit of women, rural dwellers and the poor.
Mr. Kofi Asante, Administrator/CEO of Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic communications (GIFEC) said the A4AI was working to make affordable internet for all Ghanaians, so it was imperative for all stakeholders to support the coalition to achieve its aim. He said, on the 2017 Affordability Trust Index, Ghana scored 50.01% which placed her on the 26th position out of 58 countries – a position she has maintained since 2015. He said looking at the five (5) indices on the Affordability Trust Index, GIFEC has an important role to play in terms of the provision of affordable internet to all Ghanaians. He pledged GIFEC’s continued support in extending broadband to the underserved and unserved communities in Ghana.
Mr. Kofi Asante further said that, GIFEC was doing all it could to close the “gender gap to improve digital skills intervention for women, girls, children and people with disability” emphasising that GIFEC would join the President’s initiative of the Zongo Development Project by providing internet to all these unserved and underserved areas.
Other speakers at the programme included Ms. Adzo Adzaho Sarpong, A4AI’s deputy director of (Policy lead), Mrs. Estelle Akofio-Sowah, (Working Group Champion), Hon. Jeffery Konadu-Addo, Director General (National Information Technology Agency), Mr. Joe Anokye, Director General (National Communications Authority), Ms. Clara Pinkra-Sam, Deputy National Coordinator (A4AI-Ghana), Mr. Onics N. Makwakwa, Regional Coordinator (A4AI), Ms. Erica Penfold, Research Analyst (A4AI) and Mr. Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, Chief Executive Officer (Ghana Telecom Chambers).
Participants at the Ghana Coalition meeting were drawn from foreign and local IT companies/institutions, including CISCO, Facebook, Ericsson, Airtel Ghana Ltd, Alcatel – Lucent, Africa ICT Right, Blogging Ghana, Advanced Information Technology Institute-Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence(AITI-KACE),Africa ICT Right, MTN Ghana, Amenfis Communications Ltd, Aptech Computer Education, Ardent Consult, Beyond IT, Big Ideaz Consult, Ministry of Communications, Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), Ghana Open Data Initiative, Ghana Technology University College, National Communication Authority (NCA), Center for Business Transformations, MDi-Ghana, Centre for Development in Freedom(CDIF), Community & Family Aid Foundation and others.
The global sponsors of the Alliance for Affordable Internet include Google, USAID, Sweden Government, CISCO, Intel, Facebook, Ericsson, GSMA, Microsoft, MainOne.