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Ghana Joins ECOWAS Free Roaming Initiative

An initiative named ECOWAS FREE ROAMING aimed at allowing representatives of Economic Community of West African States irrespective of their jurisdiction to make and receive calls without paying roaming and international charges has been initiated between Ghana and Côte D’Ivoire.

In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has also been signed with Togo, and hopes to have the free roaming initiative implemented by the end of the first quarter of 2024 in addition to the fact that, the National Communications Authority has received interest from Benin and the Gambia to establish similar bilateral roaming services.

This was made known by Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, and Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma West constituency, Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful yesterday, February 18, 2024 at the Minister of Information Press Briefing on the topic ‘Digital Infrastructure to Bridge the Digital Divide’.

She disclosed that Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are the first ECOWAS countries to implement the free roaming initiative, which aims to promote greater integration and reduce roaming charges.

“Ghana has also taken bold steps to implement the ECOWAS Free Roaming initiative adopted in 2016 but suffering implementation challenges. In June 2023, Ghana and Côte D’Ivoire became the first ECOWAS countries to implement the ECOWAS Free Roaming initiative to promote greater integration among member states and decrease roaming charges within the sub-region.

She added, “This simply means that Ghanaian subscribers of any network, visiting Côte d’Ivoire, will receive calls without paying roaming charges and will be charged Côte d’Ivoire’s local rates when making calls to Ghana while in Côte d’Ivoire, and vice versa. Subscribers traveling between both countries will also be exempt from international roaming charges. Following the successful execution of the Roaming Services Agreement between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Togo to start the processes of implementing the roaming service between them by the end of the first quarter of this year. The NCA has also been approached by Benin and the Gambia to establish a similar bilateral ECOWAS Roaming Service. This will facilitate trade and interactions between citizens of these countries and give meaning to regional integration.”

Achievements of

Detailing and explaining the difference between the National Democratic Congress E-SERVICES PORTAL when in power and the current GHANA.GOV., she said the platform stands as a testament to the digitalization agenda of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government in modernizing governance and facilitating seamless access to government services.

“Through its user-friendly interface and comprehensive array of online functionalities, has become a cornerstone of Ghana’s digital transformation journey. 1507 institutions have been onboarded in 3 years of operation as against 13 onboarded by the eServices platform in the same amount of time, with only 5 active. Significance of Revenue Collection One of the most compelling indicators of the platform’s success lies in its remarkable revenue collection figures.

“Currently, has facilitated the collection of an impressive sum of GHS 210 Billion Ghana cedis. This substantial amount underscores the platform’s pivotal role in streamlining financial transactions, enhancing transparency, and bolstering the nation’s fiscal integrity. This milestone symbolises the tangible impact of digital innovation on public services delivery, economic efficiency, and citizen empowerment. By harnessing the power of technology to centralise and optimise revenue collection processes, has not only expedited financial transactions but also minimised bureaucratic red tape and mitigated the risk of revenue leakages, effectively addressing the issue of public sector corruption. The success of also underscores the growing trust and confidence of citizens and businesses in digital government platforms. It reflects a paradigm shift towards digitalfirst governance, where convenience, accessibility, and accountability are prioritized in service delivery. This achievement serves as a compelling motivation to enhance and expand the capabilities of As the platform continues to evolve, it holds the potential to catalyze even greater socioeconomic development, empower citizens, and solidify Ghana’s position as a trailblazer in the digital revolution sweeping the African continent.”

Rural Telephony Project

Speaking on the Rural Telephony Project, she said it symbolizes more than just expanded telephony coverage adding that, it represents a significant stride toward a more connected, inclusive, and digitally empowered nation, transforming the lives of citizens in communities that were once unconnected, unserved or underserved.

“This government since 2017 decided to intensify efforts to ensure comprehensive network coverage across the country in line with our Digital Ghana Agenda. Between 2017 and 2018, in collaboration with the private sector, 430 Rural Telephony Sites were built and activated. This concerted effort connected approximately 700,000 previously underserved and unserved Ghanaians in remote communities, helping to bridge the digital divide and foster inclusive development.

“Not satisfied with the pace of this and In a bid to accelerate and expand the coverage of the Rural Telephony Project, the government in 2020 secured a €155 million facility from the China EXIM Bank to start the Ghana Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion Project in partnership with Huawei and China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC). They engaged a local partner, Ascend Digital Solutions, to execute this project. Under this visionary project, a total of 2,016 Rural Telephony Sites are to be constructed, to extend mobile network coverage to approximately 4 million residents of selected unserved and underserved communities, a significant step in bridging the digital divide.

“We are determined to leave no one behind in our quest for digital transformation. As at February 2024, 1,010 of the planned sites have been successfully constructed, with 618 of them already operational, offering essential Voice and Data services to citizens in about 1,620 rural communities who can now make calls and use data services, thereby enhancing social and economic activities in these communities. The Ministry will build the remaining 1,006 sites, integrate, and activate them all for voice and data services to ensure reliable, affordable, and secured broadband infrastructure this year.”

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