Three GIFEC Projects Commissioned in the Bono East Region
The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has urged citizens to safeguard government projects. She said this during a ceremony to commission two Ghana Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion Programme (GRT&DIP) sites, and one Cyberlab in the Bono East region.
The two Rural Telephony Project Sites (RTP) are the Boabeng Fiema, in the Nkoraanza North district and Chirehin in the Kintampo South district, and the Nkoranza Methodist Basic School in the Nkoranza South district.
At a durbar at Boabeng Fiema to commission the projects, the Minister said the projects are the property of the community and should be taken care of. “I, therefore, urged both the school authorities and this community to safeguard this project, they are your property to be used for your collective efforts”, She said.
“Please don’t allow any anti-social gallivant to vandalized, damage, steal components from or destroy it”, the Minister advised. She stated that, government will not have to replace components after it had been damage if the project is not protected. “Protect yours, government will not have to replace it again but can utilize our scarce resources to provide more critical infrastructure for others who do not yet have any”, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful added.
The Minister said as nations across the world gear towards digital transformation and emerging smart city initiatives, it has become necessary for Ghana to invest more into creating opportunities development in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) sector. “Globally, there are efforts to develop tremendous emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and 5G to build smarter, sustainable, and robust economies”, she stated.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful further added that the Ministry of Communications, and Digitalisation through Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) is implementing multi-faceted projects under the Universal Access to Electronic Communications Programme (UAECP) to facilitate access to ICT in underserved and unserved communities in Ghana and one of the major flagship projects is the Rural Telephony Project.
The Minister said the project seeks to extend the coverage of mobile telephone services as far as possible into all areas of the country where access to such services are not adequately available, and where existing licensed operators have proven unwilling or unable to expand their networks, due to commercial or other constraints
Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, further said, the Ministry, through the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), in a tripartite partnership with MTN (GH) Ltd. and Huawei Technologies Ltd, rolled out Four Hundred (400) Rural Telephony Project using the UMTS 900 technology between 2017 and 2019. “These sites provide both data and voice connectivity with 3G coverage to over 1000 hitherto unserved communities across the country and serving over 1.2 million citizens”, she added.
“I am excited to announce the introduction of infrastructure colocation, which ensures inclusion for and equal opportunities for all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). This also gives you, the user, the option to choose your preferred mobile network, by activating roaming on your phones, and choosing your desired network”, the Minister announced.
The Minister also indicated that, the GRT&DIP seeks to greatly accelerate local economic development while improving people’s livelihoods, open up the communities to opportunities for the development of skills and knowledge, improved the lives of the people in health delivery, commerce, agriculture, teaching and learning, government services delivery and a relatively smarter way of life as well the growth of businesses and the local economy.
The Administrator of GIFEC, Mr. Prince Ofosu Sefah said, the ultimate objective of Ghana Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion Programme (GRT&DIP), is to increase telephone subscribership to as many citizens as possible, by connecting about 3.5 million people. He added that, the goal is to achieve virtually 95% mobile telephone service coverage throughout Ghana.
He said “since inception in 2020, 748 sites have been completed, with 308 active and delivering voice and data services to about half a million citizens, including Boabeng Fiema and several other communities within the Bono East Region”
Mr. Sefah added that 1,000 RTP Sites will be constructed by the end of 2022, as part of the ongoing GRT&DIP. He added that through the Schools Connectivity Programme, GIFEC is facilitating the teaching and learning of ICT in Basic and Secondary Schools, especially in Unserved and Underserved Communities. He indicated that about 1,000 schools have been equipped with Computers, Printers, UPS, and Scanners.
The Bono East Regional Minister, Hon. Kwasi Adu Gyan, thanked the Minister and GIFEC for constructing one of the GRT&DIP sites at Boabeng Fiema and Chirehin to improve communication network. He mentioned that Nkoranza to Boabeng Fiema road has been awarded to a contractor and work will soon commence. He appealed to the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation to support the assembly to complete the Boabeng Fiema ICT centre which started in 2008 under former President Kuffour.
Addressing the durbar, the Chief of Boabeng Fiema, Nana Owusu Damoah Ameyaw III, expressed gratitude to the Akufo-Addo government and prayed it continued to assist the community with more development. He added that the communication network has improved in the community and people can now receive and make calls.
Present at the commissioning were Hon. Gifty Twum-Ampofo, Deputy Minister for Education, Hon. Peter Osei-Fosu, DCE for Mkoranza North, and Hon. Joseph Mensah, MP for Nkoranza North.
Others are Mrs. Magdalene Apenteng, Chief Director, Ministry of Communications & Digitalisation, Members of the Board of Trustees of GIFEC, Mrs. Eva Andoh-Poku, Deputy Administrator of GIFEC, and Directors at GIFEC.