As part of the build up to learn from Rwanda, Africa’s fastest growing e-governance nation, Ghana has started review of its moribund National Broadband Policy (NBP).
First, the Broadband Communications Chamber (BCC) has launched the upcoming maiden Broadband Ghana Forum, as a first step towards helping to revamp the outdated NBP and the implementation plans.
On November 30, 2017, the forum will assemble industry players, policy makers and experts from their entire communications ecosystem to discuss ways of bringing five-year-old policy up to speed with current industry developments.
Within the period, it will among other things, seek ways and strategies to effectively improve broadband penetration and usage in line with the government’s digital inclusion agenda and the United Nations recommendations.
The forum, under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications, is themed “Broadband: The Catalyst for Sustainable Socio-economic Development”, and would have series of presentations from key personalities and organizations on the sub-theme ‘True Broadband and the Possibilities It Brings’.
Ghanaian Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, in a statement noted that the outdatedness of the national broadband policy, compelled government to direct the BCC to initiate a national discourse towards the review of the policy to bring it up to speed with the times.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the BCC, Elorm Gustav Tamakloe, Ghana’s current Broadband Policy has failed to live up to expectations because it has been outpaced by industry developments.
He said “The Chamber believes that Ghana’s current 2012 Broadband Policy and Implementation Strategy has lost the fundamentals in turbo-charging our socio-economic future. It has lost the ability to meet the national Broadband needs and has not been able to deliver fast and affordable Broadband to Ghana”.
He said the existing policy failed to adequately address very key industry issues such as 4G LTE, measurement of broadband penetration and other factor that would help investors to take informed decisions and workable development strategies.
Continuing, Tamakloe recalled that “Last year, the UN Broadband Commission in a report issued a challenge to policymakers, the private sector and other partners to make deployment of Broadband infrastructure a top priority in their strategies to accelerate global development and progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals”.
Whereas the UN report indicated how broadband is driving significant transformation in lots of sectors that are related to development such as health, food security, financial inclusion and education, it is disappointing that Ghana is still not utilizing it enough as a stimulant for socio-economic development.
“Sadly, Ghana is losing out. Ghana is being left behind. With approximately 9.9 million users, representing 34.7 per cent of about 29 million population, we can either choose to continue to do nothing or we can seize the Broadband opportunity as a catalyst for Ghana’s sustainable socio-economic development,” he noted.