GOVERNMENT MAKES HEADWAY IN THE AREA OF TECHNOLOGY

By Edem Agblevor

 

The Ministry of Communication (MoC) can touch on countless achievements in the year 2017 and 2018 especially in the utilisation of Telecommunication and Information Communication Technology (ICT) to improve the effectiveness of service delivery with a focus on the rural and underserved communities.

 

The focus also goes as far as Gender parity, Digital, and financial inclusion and job opportunities for the youth through the development of new business, improving competences of existing business as well as securing cyberspace for the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

The Communication Ministry, working with the National Communication Authority (NCA), has established the NCA telecommunication industry Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to provide services to ensure the security and safety of networks, which will eventually lead to the creation of jobs because more human resources will be needed for its operation.

 

In the area of the National Digital Terrestrial Television project, the government has executed the road map to migrate the nation from analogue to Digital Television Transmission.

 

With this, the MoC has accomplished the provision of dedicated power to thirty-seven DTT transmission sites in eight regions, which are Eastern, Central, Western, Volta, Northern, Brong Ahafo, Upper East as well as Upper West.

 

It is obvious now that, most local television stations in Ghana have moved from analogue to digital which has enhanced programs that are being telecasted and also improved their picture quality. It is also encouraging how almost all the local station has taken the digital migration project seriously due to the constant education from the Communication Ministry.

 

The rural area cannot be left out in the area of technology and due to this, the Ministry is implementing the rural telephony project to extend the coverage of mobile telephone services as far as possible into all areas of the country where access to such services are not adequately available.

 

This will help the folks in the rural area to have a sense of belonging when it comes to the ‘national cake’. Communication is very essential in every human endeavor, hence, a laudable move by the ministry to extend the telephony project to the rural areas.

 

It is good to note that the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), in 2018 constructed rural telephony sites to provide voice and data connectivity, which has indeed provided coverage for two thousand (2,000) communities, therefore, the Ministry intends to scale up the project to cover all underserved communities by 2020.

 

The Ministry acquired a grant from the Government of the People’s Republic of China to implement the 300 village Satellite television projects.

 

In this project, twenty households will be supplied with set-top boxes (STBs) each as part of the government’s universal access policy. The implementation team has installed and commissioned all the devices in 285 villages out of the targeted 300 villages.

 

The Ministry has also succeeded in integrating ICT in teaching and learning. An instance is the Kofi Annan Center of Excellence in ICT (KACE), as part of the World Bank e-Education project has trained 700 out of the targeted 1,400 teachers nationwide in Senior High Schools on the use of ICT to effectively teach science, technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs.

 

The use of the internet in studying in our schools will enable the students to have sharp brains as well as give them exposure in the various disciplines they study.  

 

The Ministry of Communication, through the Accra Digital Center, has embarked on outreach programs targeted at disadvantaged youth in the Greater Accra Region out of which four hundred and seventy-six (476) youth have been trained in Digital Marketing.

 

In the area of postal and courier services, the Ministry in collaboration with the Ghana Post launched the National Digital Property Addressing System (NDPAS) in 2017 with the objective to generate digital addresses for individuals and commercial properties.

 

This is to provide navigation abilities that help with ease of finding locations. The great news is that 1,200,000 have succeeded in registering and verified addresses.

 

To encourage and promote the generation of the digital addresses nationwide, Ghana Post has started house-to-house generation of the digital addresses for free and labeling of properties for a fee upon request by the property owner.

 

I believe there is a need for very intensive education on the importance of having the digital address system. This is because; most households are reluctant in getting the addresses because they have not come to understand the essence of having a digital address system. 

 

In the area of protecting data of people, the Data Protection Act, 2012 mandates the Data Protection Commission (DPC), to protect the privacy of the individual and personal data. This is by regulating the processing of personal information.

 

Some of the regulatory frameworks the DPC has put in place to ensure that the right and privacy of the individual is respected is based on Accountability, the lawfulness of processing evidence on legitimate grounds, fairness, and transparency, data security safeguards as well as Data subject participation.

 

To provide more efficient delivery of government services, to reduce corruption and enhance transparency, a number of e-services are being implemented under the e-Transformation project funded by World Bank, to increase efficiency, accountability, and responsiveness.

 

The Ministry has established the National Cyber Security Centre to direct cyber security activities both in government and the private sector. It has the responsibility to foster national cyber security awareness creation and cyber security incident coordination. The National Communication Authority (NCA) and the World Bank contributed to the establishment of the Centre.

 

The Ministry celebrated this year’s Girls-in-ICT event in the Ashanti Region. Six hundred (600) girls from selected public basic schools in six Districts of the Region were selected for a 14-day capacity building training in coding and programming and ICT mentorship program.

 

The mentorship program encouraged the girls in career selection in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics as they interacted with female mentors with ICT career background.

 

In Ghana’s international commitments, Ghana hosted the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Development Forum and Spectrum Monitoring Workshop. This program gave Ghana the opportunity to be admired by the various representatives from the other countries.

 

Ghana also hosted the West African Postal Conference (WAPCO) in 2018. In November 2018, Ghana was re-elected to the Administrative Council of the International Telecommunications Union.

 

Ghana is serving as a co-chair of the Commonwealth ITU Group to help adopt decisions that are of common interest to Commonwealth members. In my opinion, this position will help Ghana in decision making internationally.

 

Hits: 8675