ICT Sector Overview
Ghana’s approach to building an ecosystem for Internet growth has focused on establishing a networked infrastructure and promoting government as an early adopter. But this has not yet translated into a substantial increase in access for the broader population, with Internet penetration at 9.6% of the population in 2011.
- Ghana was one of the first countries to connect to the SAT3 international fibre cable in 2002
- ICT for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD) was established in 2003 to provide universal access to high quality ICT services which would transform Ghana into a knowledge-based, technology-driven economy
- Price of wholesale bandwidth has fallen from US $2 500 per mbps per month to US $297 per mbps per month over the past 5 years
- National Information Technology Agency is overseeing a number of initiatives including eServices, eParliament, eImmigration and ePolicing, which are expected to drive significant efficiencies and access
The National Information Technology Agency (NITA) was established in 2008 as the governing body supporting the national ICT for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD) Strategy and National Telecom Policy (NTP). ICT4AD proposed using Internet-enabled technologies to transform government administration, information dissemination and service delivery, and is currently being refreshed with UN support. The NTP defines how the government intends to extend high quality, affordable ICT access to every Ghanaian and move toward a knowledge-based economy.
The strategy involves increasing competition, broadening rural access and developing eLiteracy. By opening the market to more operators through additional licensing, it aims to make telecom services available to at least 25% of the population, with 10% or more penetration in rural areas. To date, the bulk of the development has been limited to Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi. Its eCare and CIC centers provide ICT access and eSkill development, funded by a 1% tax on telecom revenues, but currently only cover a minority of the country. The government also seeks to stimulate local competition with major operators by offering incentives to connect to the fibre backbone and submarine cables.
NITA implements IT policies while overseeing the National Data Centre, Government Enterprise Architecture, Government ICT Interoperability Standards, and public sector ICT training through the e-Ghana Project. The e-Ghana Project was launched in 2006 by the World Bank to build IT Enabled Services (ITES) and e-government applications, then supplemented two years later with a $30m loan from China to construct a nationwide eGovernment infrastructure extending fibre optic and WiMax coverage to 15 cities.
The government introduced the national Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS) in an attempt to migrate the country from cash to electronic payments, which are more easily tracked and decrease the opportunities for corruption. Slow rollout of E-zwitch compliant ATMsand the lack of explicit mMoney or eCommerce regulation in the 2008 Branchless Banking Guidelines were obstacles to the hoped-for electronic payment growth.