5G technology to drive African economies -Africa Regional Director, ITU

African government should begin to put strategies in place to adopt fifth generation (5G) telecommunication technology to drive their economies, Africa Regional Director of the International Communication Union (ITU), Andrew Rugege has said.

He said some European countries had already deployed 5G technology and Africa should begin to do same.

Mr Rugege made the appeal in Accra on Monday during the launch of this year’s International Telecommunication Union Regional Development Forum.

The programme scheduled for 18-20th July in Accra is under the theme, ‘IVTSDGs: Towards the implementation of WTDC17 outcomes’, will be attended by participants from the private sector, acadamia and government circles from all the African countries to drive ICT penetration.

Mr Rugege providing an overview of the conference said Africa often was the late adopter of ICT technology.

He partly attributed the late adoption of ICT technology in Africa to high cost and poor infrastructure and urged African states to work in unison to address the challenge.

Mr Rugege opined that ICT offered a great opportunity to transform African economies and transform the lives of her citizens.

He said the conference would focus on five regional initiatives and pillars namely building digital economies and fostering innovation in Africa, promotion of emerging broadband technologies, building trust and security in the use of ICT, strengthening human and institutional capacity and management and monitoring of the radio frequency spectrum and transition to digital broadcasting.

“These strategies if well pursued will help the development and transformation of Africa,” he said.

He entreated the Ghanaian government to effectively allocate and monitor its radio spectrum for the benefit of the citizens, saying, “Spectrum is a finite resource which should be well harnessed for the development of the country.”

Mr Rugege disclosed that the ITU Africa regional office would in August this year launch in partnership with UN Women a coding programme for girls under the theme, ‘Girls calling for change’.

The programme, he said would benefit about 12,000 girls and train them in coding and applications development.

Mr Rugege expressed gratitude to the government for accepting to host the conference.

Deputy Minister of Communications, George Andah said ICT development and deployment remained at the heart of President Nana Akuffo Addo.

He said it was against that backdrop that the government was pursuing a number of initiatives including the development of infrastructure and projects to promote ICT penetration in the country.

Mr Andah said the Eastern Corridor Fiber Optics programme had been completed and that of the Western would soon begin.

He said Ghana for the past six years had been implementing a programme on coding for girls, indicating that 1000 girls would be trained every year under the programme.

Vincent Odotei Sowah, a Deputy Minister of Communications also said government in collaboration with the World Bank was building an ihub and a laboratory to help in the development and testing of applications.

By Kingsley Asare

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