Ghana growing in technological strength
As is the case with many of its neighbours, Ghana’s ICT industry has experienced its fair share of turbulence. It has impacted on the development of the sector and also affected operators.
For example, there has been recent and extensive media coverage of an order issued by the country’s Fast Track High Court for the arrest of the CEO of MTN Ghana, Michael Ikpoki, and two other senior executives, reportedly for their repeated failure to appear in court.
This stems from a case brought against the company by one, Dr. Raymond Atuguba, over the restoration of communication services.
Ghana’s ICT industry continues to be scrutinized and remains a focal point for authorities. A recent report by the country’s National Communications Authority (NCA) stated that the number of mobile phone users has reached 24,4 million and overall penetration in the country is close to the 100% mark.
The country’s mobile industry is viewed upon as highly strategic, contributing to- and affecting various aspects of socio-economic development, including GDP and job creation.
Regulation is part of the evolution of the sector. The NCA recently handed down a fine of GH¢1.2 million (almost 600,000 US Dollars) to five telecommunications companies for poor quality of service.
The sector is fiercely competitive and umbrellas the activities of several competitor telecommunications companies, including MTN Ghana, Vodafone Ghana, Tigo Ghana, Bharti Airtel and Globacom.
Adil El Youssefi, CEO of Tigo, has been reported as saying that there may be too much competition within the country’s sector and this could lead to a decline in revenues for some of the operators.
On the positive side, Ministry of Communications officials have confirmed that the process of establishing a “cashless society” is on track. The hope is that by mid-2013 operators will be able to begin rolling out the initial stages of a new functioning mobile money system.
Additionally the West African country’s technology media have reportedly established the Network of Communication Reporters (NCR), an initiative designed to boost coverage of the development of Ghana’s ICT sector.
The intention is to elevate the country’s ICT profile and showcase its capabilities.
These capabilities are rooted in a number of achievements that have helped the country establish a reputation as being a stronghold for ICT application and services.
Research states that Ghana launched the first cellular mobile network in Sub-Saharan Africa in 1992 and was amongst the first countries in Africa to connect to the Internet and acquire ADSL broadband services.
According to country’s Ministry of Communications initiatives such as the development of the national fiber optic network, via the national electricity company, Voltacom, is going a long way in bridging the digital divide.
Chris Tredger, Online Editor