Ghana is banking on the growing digital sector to accelerate its economy and post-Covid recovery. To this end, the government wants to guarantee access to basic telecom services for all populations, especially those living in rural areas.
The Ghanaian government has committed around €155 million to bridge the gap in telecommunications network connectivity. The money will be used to top up universal service funds to boost broadband services in rural areas and bridge the digital divide. This was revealed by Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communication and Digitization, on the sidelines of the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) 2022 being held in Rwanda.
According to Ms. Owusu-Ekuful, 2,016 cell sites are being built in the country and are expected to connect around three million Ghanaians by 2023. She also revealed that a similar amount will be committed for the second phase, a once the current phase of the rural telephony and digital inclusion project is completed.
Other initiatives under this project include the implementation of an open spectrum policy to facilitate the use of all technologies to connect over 6,000 Ghanaian villages, as well as the construction of shared infrastructure for rural connectivity. “ We have mandated and are implementing a national roaming policy so that any user can access broadband services and emergency calls in our rural, unserved and underserved communities, regardless of their service provider ” , said Ms. Owusu-Ekuful.
This initiative is part of the “Ghana Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion” project unveiled in November 2020 by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) to “bridge the digital divide ” by strengthening the telephony services of base in rural areas. The project benefits from the technical and financial support of the Chinese technology giant Huawei. More recently, Ghana secured $200 million in World Bank financing to accelerate its digital transformation agenda.
Ultimately, this project should in particular make it possible to provide telecom services to millions of additional people and reduce the digital divide in Ghana. It should also accelerate the digital transformation of the economy.