Ghana’s Minister for Communication, Dr Edward Omane-Boamah, has called on African States to endeavour to provide high-speed internet at an affordable price for the benefit of all Africans, irrespective of their location.
Dr Omane-Boamah made the call during the second day of the Regional Development Forum (RDF) and Regional Preparatory Meeting for Africa (RPM AFR) on World Telecommunication Development Conference, 2014 (WTDC 14) in Accra yesterday.
The minister noted that the objective of the WTDC-14 was to identify priorities for the development of telecommunications, information and communication technologies (ICTs), taking into account contributions made by the member-state and sector members as well as to adopt an action plan that would define the activities of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) over the four- year period.
According to him, in the area of infrastructural development, Africa was constantly suffering from exaggerated and often inflated cost of building ICT infrastructure rendering the cost of services very high even after granting generous incentives to the private sector.
This, he said, was also in competition with other pressing national requirements for developments in health, education, agriculture and other sectors of the national economy.
To address this challenge, Dr Boamah disclosed that the ministry had adopted value for money audit and the services of independent engineers as an integral part of its agenda to deploy ICT infrastructure and, as such, strongly recommended same to other African countries.
In addition, he said, the primary goal for the conference was not just to develop and deploy technologies but also to make a positive difference in Africa with a view to ultimately establishing knowledge societies that would be at the supply end of ICT.
For his part, the director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau, Mr Braimah Sanou, said the regional development forum would be an annual event aimed at providing a platform for sharing ICT information and best practices in the region.
Sanou said it would also address the challenges that confronted the regions and explore how to create opportunities, using practical policy, legal and regulatory instruments.
He added that as the Regional Development Forum brought together stakeholders with an interest that went beyond ICTs, it was time to have an open, honest and constructive dialogue that was self-challenging to the society as a whole.
Sanou emphasised the importance of broadband to good governance. “Broadband helps to address the biggest issues of our time such as climate change and environmental sustainability and it revolutionises the way goods and services are created, delivered and used in the digital economy,” he explained.