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Gov’t committed to digital inclusion agenda in rural areas – Ursula

Ghana’s Minister of communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful has reinsterated the Akufo-Addo government aim at ensuring ”digital and financial inclusion, narrowing the gender digital divide and creating opportunities for the youth.”

According to her, technology plays a key role in the development of every country’s economy hence the concrete effort by the government to ensure that Ghanaian youths all over the country get access to internet.

Speaking at the Innovation Africa 2019 Forum held at the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel located in the heart of the Gold Coast’s Accra, Mrs Ursula said the Nana Addo government have embarked on massive reforms in the educational and ICT sectors witnessed in the past few years.

”Education is the bedrock of development for any society and innovation, a driver of dynamic economic growth. With Information, Communications Technology (ICT) as the catalyst, various sectors of an economy can be transformed to create richer, stronger, more developed and inclusive economies.

”The Ministry of communications is focused on utilizing ICTs and providing the digital infrastructure for improved efficiency of service delivery with particular emphasis on rural and underserved communities, digital and financial inclusion, narrowing the gender digital divide and creating opportunities for the youth.

”Recognizing that ICT is the critical tool to hasten socio economic development and spread education across the country,this government embarked on the massive reforms in the educational and ICT sectors we have witnessed in the past few years.” she said.

The Minister also said the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government is proud to have institutionalized the Girls-in-ICT Initiative which according to her have trained about one thousand six hundred (1,600) Upper Primary and Junior High School (girls selected from the Central and Western Regions of Ghana in basic ICT and coding skills this year alone).
”The programme has been expanded into a bi annual one and now includes mentorship sessions where accomplished female ICT professionals interact with and encourage the girls to take up courses in Information and Communication Technologies.
”Students who excelled, their teachers and girl child coordinators of the GES were also given laptops. In furtherance of the Ministry’s objective of bridging the gender digital divide, the schools of these exceptional students are provided with ICT laboratories and their teachers are also trained for sustainability of the training as part of this GIICT program.” she revealed.
According to the Minister, the Ministry of Finance in conjunction with her Ministry have set up a Common Monitoring Platform (CMP) to monitor communications traffic, assure revenue, manage fraud and monitor mobile money transactions to assist the NCA and GRA with their regulatory functions.
”We have also set up Type Approval and Conformance Laboratories to ensure that electronic communications equipment manufactured in or imported into the country for sale or use are in conformity with national and international standards for the safety of users, networks and the environment as well as provide the requisite quality of service. In order to streamline the efficient use of the national spectrum resources and ensure value for its use a Broadcasting Audit system has also been instituted.” she further indicated.
The Minister however expressed confident that, Ghana is on its way to become a leading digital hub in Africa adding that, ”adopting or initiating programs or competitions that will unearth innovations and talent in the youth and young entrepreneurs is the best ever practice.”
”Together, everyone here at Innovation Africa must invest more in empowering the youth especially in the field of ICT and innovation, and support entrepreneurs and start-ups. I encourage us all to consider adopting or initiating programs or competitions that will unearth innovations and talent in the youth and young entrepreneurs.
”As you leave Ghana, I entreat each one of us to use the unique meeting-based format of Innovation Africa as a basis for government, businesses and civil society to work together within this vibrant industry.” she added.

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