Flashback: The Communication Ministry under John Mahama

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It is considered that in the year 1997 Ghana possessed 105,000 fixed lines and 7,500 analogue cellular subscribers, and in June 2014, it has 29,220,602 mobile subscribers and 13,962,318 data subscribers. As at August 2015, fixed and mobile telephone subscriptions were 33,099, 514 as compared to a little over 11 million in 2008. Mobile and fixed internet subscribers moved to 17,159,383.

In August 2014, cabinet approved four policies relating to the issuance of Mobile Virtual Network Operation licenses, Interconnect Clearing House License, International Wholesale Carrier License and Unified Telecom Licence. Government also established the National Emergency Call Centres to provide a unified national emergency response number 112.

Implementation of prudent measures in the telecommunication sector by the Mahama administration, made the sector a major driver of the economic growth. This improvement reflected an increase in the services sector’s share of Ghana’s GDP from 50.0% in 2012 to 50.6% in 2013 out of which the information ministry then and communication contributed 24.7%. This performance was a positive response to the administration’s continuing support for public-private partnership investment in massive broadband infrastructure rollout and the success of bilateral support in the construction of major optic fibre and LTE infrastructure. This helps to provide substantial bandwidth for ubiquitous deployment and application of ICT services in governance, education, health, business and finance, agriculture, and research and development.

We witnessed impressive rollout. For instance, in May 2013 the construction of the 780- kilometre Eastern Corridor Fibre Network commenced in earnest. This powerful project provides connectivity to over 200 communities along the route and also complement the over 3,000 kilometers of the National Communications backbone optic fibre that connect the north to the south on the western tangent all the way to the northernmost frontier with Burkina Faso.

Additionally, Ghana supported the terrestrial optic fibre infrastructure with five submarine cable systems that link the country with Europe and rest of the world..

Other major projects executed under the administration include the e,Ghana, ICT park, the Hope City Project

-Inauguration of the Tamale NCA office. The construction of the office formed part of the efforts to bring the activities of the NCA closer to telecommunications stakeholders and consumers, within the Northern sector of the country.

-Construction of the Business Process Outsourcing Centre in Accra. The centre was constructed to provide grade A facility for local and foreign investors in the business process outsourcing area of the information technology enabled services industry in Ghana. The facility was designed to create space for almost 10,000 seater BOP jobs for the youth to support the economic growth of Ghana.

In a broadband report released in October 2013, the international telecommunications unit (ITU) ranked Ghana as the 49th highest broadband user globally which made Ghana the best mobile broadband user in Africa with penetration rate of 33%.

China’s motivation towards achieving this feat under the Mahama administration was driven largely by a determination to use ICT as a driver of economic empowerment as enshrined in the ICT4AD policy,

The Ministry also introduced the e-Government project. It included the e-workplace platform, e-cabinet, e-Health , Automated Tax Administration system, e-Register, e-Immigration.

Government also rolled out other universal access interventions including:

-The Rural Telephony project

-Distribution of ICT equipment and software applications to selected schools

-ICT training. Managers, students, prison inmates were afforded the opportunity to acquire ICT skills.

-Disability Employment project. This initiative resulted in the supply of trading booths to physically challenged persons to engage in ICT based services in order to earn income

-Enhanced Community Information centres were built across the country.

-Construction of the National Data Center. The largest in West Africa which promote an integrated use of ICT to improve efficiency and transparency in governance and facilities storage, management and dissemination of data for both public and private establishments.

Source: Ohenenana Obonti Krow

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