President John Mahama yesterday inaugurated a ultra-modern mult-million dollar project that is expected to significantly change the face of Ghana’s digital landscape.
The Accra Digital Centre, which is estimated to create over 10,000 jobs in the information and communication technology industry, is one of government’s transformational initiatives to create opportunity for sustainable entrepreneurial employment for young people in the digital environment.
Serving as a digital ecosystem, the Centre, which would house a multitude of ICT enterprises, is located near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange in Accra.
The 8.3 million dollar project started in 2011 under the government’s e-governance programme, and it was jointly financed by the World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation.
The centre is a collection of12 old warehouses of the Public Works Department (PWD) which have been renovated into world class office buildings with each of the buildings occupying a space of 735 square meters, making a total of 8,820 square meters.
Each structure has the capacity to accommodate 350 workers.
Some of the spaces would be allocated made available at affordable rates for start-ups and emerging ICT companies that are able and willing to carry out digital operations and Business Processing Operations (BPO).
Commissioning the project, President Mahama described it as another landmark investment that would advance the fortune es of the Ghana’s ICT industry.
“This is milestone in our quest to leverage the gains in the ICT,” he said, adding that “it presents a tremendous opportunity for our people.”
President Mahama also added that other innovations are being developed to boost the innovation of the digital industry.
“The Ministry of communication is also developing a number of innovations including the M-Labs, I-hubs, Accra Business Processing Outsourcing Center (BPO), the Kumasi Business Incubator, The regional innovation centers and the ICT Park in Tema to boost the innovation digital system,” he said.
Touching on the telecom sector, the president said significant gains have been made, citing periods where people had to climb trees to get good reception and queue to use a community telephone boot.
“At that time the technology was different, you had voice separate, data separate and video separate, and we hadn’t reached the era of convergence yet, it started to happen much later.”
He recalled the history of Ghana’s ICT and telecommunication industry, and said a lot of progress has been achieved through systematic reforms.
“Today, Ghana stands tall as one of the progressive ICT and telecom markets with six mobile operators and over 35 million subscriptions for a population of 27 million,” he said.
Mr Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director, for his part, commended Ghana for the successful completion of the project which he described as a critical initiative for economic growth.
He said the bank expects the centre to contribute in increasing ICT sector contribution from 1.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent of GDP.
By Edmund Mingle