The Global System Mobile Association (GMSA), which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, has entered into a partnership with the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and Vodafone Ghana to deploy mobile internet solutions in unconnected rural communities.
The partnership which will run from July 2019 to late 2020 is part of the Connected Society Innovation Fund for Rural Connectivity.
The Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu Ekuful welcomed the partnership agreement, which she said would go a long way to promote government’s drive towards internet proliferation, across the country, especially in rural areas.
GMSA-led project will fund mobile network equipment vendors to deploy their innovative solutions to support mobile operator efforts in Ghana.
According to the details of the partnership, Vodafone Ghana would be testing and deploying these innovations on their networks whilst GIFEC, which has the mandate to make electronic communication accessible to Ghanaians, would provide land for site coverage.
The fund will also enable tax and duty exemptions of up to thirty per cent for imported equipment to encourage reinvestment and enhance coverage extensions.
“This collaboration is a pioneering, first-of-its-kind project that aims to connect unconnected communities in rural locations and deliver a range of essential digital services,” Akinwale Goodluck, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA said.
“It could not have been achieved without the support of both Vodafone Ghana and GIFEC, particularly on providing tax exemptions and the provision of land for grantees, and will provide a foundation for innovative African companies to support operator efforts to connect the unconnected,” he added.
In Ghana, two vendors and their partners were selected and are expected to be awarded up to £330,000 each for implementing turnkey solutions to suit challenging rural environments with low population density, difficult terrain or limited infrastructure.
Each project was judged on its ability to provide solutions that are innovative, scalable and commercially sustainable. Once the sites are fully commissioned they will be integrated into Vodafone’s network as the project’s primary partner.
Commenting on the partnership, Gayheart Mensah, External Affairs Director at Vodafone Ghana said “Connectivity for all remains an integral part of the way we operate as a business. In the spirit of leaving no one behind, we are excited to be partnering the GSMA and GIFEC to roll out this initiative. It is certainly an area of industry leadership that we are extremely proud of. This is what we mean by enabling an exciting future for all our stakeholders.”
By Times Reporter