A4AI Gears Up for 1st Country Engagement in Ghana
Local and regional ICT leaders and innovators will converge in Accra on February 11 for the alliance's first major country engagement activity, the A4AI Ghana Multi-stakeholder Forum.
The Forum will draw together a wide range of key stakeholders, including the Minister of Communications, the Hon. Edward Omane Boamah, senior officials from the National Communications Authority (NCA), sectoral Ministries and other government agencies, industry representatives, leading Ghanaian academics and researchers, civil society organisations, and members of the media.
By uniting a diverse range of technology innovators to share insights and debate solutions openly, it is hoped that steps can be identified to tackle a number of challenges keeping broadband internet prices too expensive for most Ghanaians including:
A lack of terrestrial fibre, and policies and taxes that limit the best use of telecommunications infrastructure.
The high costs of telecommunications equipment, often fuelled by taxation policies, and exacerbated by recent increases in value-added tax (VAT) due to government fiscal pressures
Dwindling numbers of Internet Service Providers
Low citizen awareness about possible benefits of the internet and how to use it.
Despite the recent landing of four new fibre optic submarine cables in Ghana, broadband remains pricey and is largely an urban phenomenon. The ITU estimates that only 17% of Ghanians currently use the internet, and Ghana was ranked 30th out of 46 emerging and developing countries covered in A4AI's 2013 Affordability Report, behind other West African countries including Nigeria and Senegal.