African countries urged to deepen ICT penetration

Mr Andah

Mr Andah

The 2018 International Telecommunication Union Africa Regional Development forum ended in Accra on Friday with a call on member countries to step up efforts to implement the regional initiatives discussed at the programme to deepen Information Communication Technology (ICT) penetration in their respective countries.

The initiatives include building digital economies and fostering innovation, promotion of emerging broadband technologies, building trust and security in the use of telecommunications and ICT, strengthening human and institutional capacity building and management and monitoring of the radio-frequency spectrum and transition to digital broadcasting.

Under the theme “ICT4SDGs: Towards the implementation of WTD17 outcomes,” was attended by representatives of the academia, private sector and state institutions from all over Africa.

Speaking to reporters after the closing ceremony, the Regional Director for the ITU Regional office for Africa Telecommunication Development Bureau, Andrew Rugege said member countries have up to 2021 to implement the regional initiatives.

He said the ITU Africa Region had received $2 million to support member countries with technical support to implement the Regional Initiatives, which were country specific, indicating that the cost of implement the regional initiative was the responsibility of each member country.

Mr Rugege entreated the ITU Africa member countries to step up efforts to deploy 5G Long Term Evolution technology.

The Deputy Minister of Communications, George Andah who officially closed the forum said the programme had various sessions including the high-level roundtable on boosting digital economy development in Africa.

He said breakout sessions focused on the regional initiatives and an avenue was created for regional organisations from the ITU Africa member countries to share their perspectives and best practices in the technology sector in their respective countries.

“We agreed as region to pursue a common agenda and, in that light, I wish to urge all to provide support and best practices to each other for Africa to have a strong front,” he said.

He said Ghana would put together a working group made of all stakeholders, government, regulator, the private sector and academia, among others, to critically review the various projects and determine how to adapt and implement them as the Ghana continued its digital agenda and move towards the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr Andah entreated the ITU Africa member countries to support Ghana’s quest to be elected on the ITU Council.

The Director General of the National Communications Authority, Joe Anokye called on stakeholders in the ICT Industry Africa to put a human face to ICT and make it simple and accessible to all the citizens.

By Kingsley Asare

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