This year’s Regional Development Forum(RDF) of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)—a high level dialogue between the Telecommunications Development Bureau (BDT), decision makers of ITU member staff and sector members—has begun in Accra.


The three-day conference, which is being held on the theme ICT4SDGs: Towards the implementation of World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC), presents an opportunity for all the ITU members in Africa to share their experiences and achievements as they work towards strengthening partnership, enhancing regional integration and  building digital economies to foster innovation in Africa.


In a keynote address at the opening of the Forum, yesterday, Ms Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister for Communications, noted that the disrupting power of technology was impacting every area of life and forcing humans to re-think and innovate daily to enhance development— a classic case of adopt or die.


Ms Owusu-Ekuful, therefore,  stressed the need to build and integrate a resilient planning infrastructure across the continent to provide the information technology knowledge and skills to all the people, especially the youth and position them to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the multi-million application and software industry.


She said there was the continuing existence of a huge digital divide, particularly with gender digital divide where many women were still shut out of the digital revolution, adding that measures were, therefore, needed to ensure that technological advances did not further aggravate inequalities that marginalized women, persons with disabilities and rural communities.


She disclosed that as part of the digital Ghana Agenda, Government was embarking on an ambitious infrastructure development programme with a national broadband structure and connectivity for the unserved and undeserved at the heart of the agenda.


The ITU is a global union that assists member states, academia, industry and governments to take advantage to develop ICT. It has affirmed its reputation worldwide as one of the most resilient and relevant organisations and it continues its work as the specialized agency of the United Nations for telecommunications and information and communication technologies.


Briefing the media on Tuesday, prior to the opening of the forum, Mr George Andah, Deputy Minister for Communication, disclosed that the Ministry of Communications (MoC) had been implementing a digital agenda since it took over from the previous government.


Mr Andah mentioned the implementation of the Ghana Card, Mobile Money Interoperability and the Digital Addressing System which would aid the digital economy to take off smoothly.


Furthermore, he said, the National Cyber Security Secretariat had been established and training programs had been organized for prosecutors, police CIDs and judges in 2017, adding that Ghana had become the hub for the prosecution of cybercrimes in West Africa.


He said a policy document had also been formulated to address children and the content they are exposed to online.


Mr Andrew Rugege, the Regional Director for ITU, indicated that the main focus of the forum was to ensure building digital economies and fostering innovation in Africa; promotion of emerging broadband technologies by members; building trust and security in the use of telecommunications/information and communication technology; strengthening human and institutional capacity building; and the management and monitoring of radio frequency spectrum and transition to digital broadcasting.


Meanwhile, a few initiatives—the African Girls Coding for Change; Girls in ICT based on coding for girls in Ghana and the creation of Enhanced Community Information Centres (ECIC) which will develop a coding culture among children of school -going age through continental coding boot camps—have been lined up for implementation.


Out of the original 216 districts, about 194 are part of this program where the objective is to increase digital literacy and also make accessible electronic gadgets at the community level so that the illiteracy level will drop.


Source: ISD(Edem Agblevor & Millicent Aniapam)


Created: 19 July 2018
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