In a report released by the World Bank, it has emerged that Ghana has received more than $1-billion in telecom investment in the country for a ten-year period (1998 – 2008). It seems to have paid off, as the cheapest call to the US from Africa stems from the region, at $0.31 a minute. This is compared to $0.88 a minute in 2008 from other North African countries.
But Ghana still has a long way to go in order to provide the best network in Africa. “Kenya and Ghana, for example, are of similar size, but Kenya’s networks are growing much more quickly – with 6,445 km versus Ghana’s 919 km of backbone network currently under construction,” the report said.
According to the report, Ghana sits in the 9th position when it comes to the top ten countries in Sub-Sahara Africa that have received massive investments. Although $1-billion is an impressive figure, countries like South Africa received $18.1 billion in investments, while Nigeria received $12.7 billion and Kenya $ 2.9 billion.
According to TechLoy, “the completion of Ghana Telecom (now Vodafone Ghana) equipment supply Phase 1 in 2003 which cost $200 million, part of which the Eximbank of China financed with $79 million”, helped to bolster the growth.
The report also said that “operators and governments in Sub-Saharan Africa are investing heavily in the region’s information and communication technology (ICT) sector – about $5 billion a year”.
Although Ghana alone received $1-trillion in investments over a ten-year period, to bring the entire African continent up to speed will be a massive task. “A total expenditure of $15.5 billion would be required between 2007 and 2015 to expand basic GSM network coverage to Africa’s entire population. Of this, $6.9 billion is for areas that are potentially commercially viable. The total cost of expanding networks to cover the 8 percent of the population that lies outside these areas amounts to $8.7 billion, or about $1 billion per year.”
VoiP can also improve Ghana’s status as an investment hub, but the country still hasn’t legalised the service. “The Director General of the National Communications Authority, the regulator, and the Minister of Communications has reportedly publicly stated their readiness to license VoIP operators.”
Charlie Fripp - Consumer Tech editor