Monday, April 18, 2011

AFRICA IN THE WAKE OF BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE –GLO-1 PUTS GHANA ON THE DIGITAL MAP.




The unveiling of the international fiber optic submarine cable in Ghana by Globacom Ghana Limited known as Glo-1 was a welcoming news indeed for the Government of Ghana, the industry regulator- National Communications Authority (NCA), and stakeholders in the ICT industry. Although Ghana wasn’t the first West Coast African country to have access to this facility, since Nigeria was put on this platform somewhere last years or so, many expert in the telecom sector in Ghana believe that this initiative by Globacom to place Africa on the Digital Drive with the rest of the world is a giant dream come and must be well celebrate for. Not only does it demonstrate the can do spirit of the African entrepreneur but a good signal to the rest of the world that Africa is now ready to Bridge the Digital Divide.
Bridging the Digital Gap between Africa and the world was thought to be a phenomenal task which will last for decades, before Africa would catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to the Digital Divide. But with the wit, ingenuity, and the excelling power to succeed by the African entrepreneur has witness the emergence of a new breed of corporate African institutions with close collaborations with their various governments aiming at bridging the Digital divide, and that is seen to be the case of Global Telecommunication Limited and other such institutions like Main One Cable Limited.
In the words of Communications Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, who welcomed the Glo 1 launch, Ghana has made giant and tremendous strides in the area of telecommunications and that “even the socialist among us will agree that when we say that liberalization has no dividend, we certainly cannot say so for the telecoms sector. We are today reaping [from] the foundations that were laid for a liberalized regime of the telecoms sector and allowing the private sector to take its pride of place.

“Mine will be to commend Globacom Limited, at least the launch of Glo 1 today in my conception, is West Africa’s Indigenous response to the need for global connectivity and this is the first time that we are having such a major investment come from an African, meant for an African, and connecting with the rest of the world and you deserve our commendation.”

He appealed to Globacom to reserve some of their additional value added services-related businesses for Ghanaians, “whether in the area of the printing of scratch cards, whether in the area of security, whether in the area of providing diesel or manning cell sites,” he said, “we will be happy that it generates some additional business for the Ghanaian people and that is how we can share in their entry to the market.”

Vice President John Mahama, special guest, predicted that in the not too distant future, the capacity of bandwidth available to a country will determine its status of development rather than GDP. He therefore welcomed the increase in bandwidth availability in Ghana with the arrival of Glo and its launch of the backbone infrastructure and services, which he said will deepen competition and provide alternative choices, comparable pricing and improved quality of service for the benefit of Ghana’s communication sector.

“It will be common in future to be asked not of the size of the GDP of your country but of the size of bandwidth that is available in your country,” he said, emphasizing the determination of the government to develop ICT infrastructure that will provide abundant capacity to carry high speed voice, video and internet facilities to all districts of Ghana.

“I say this because towards the end of 2008, the uptake of broadband in Ghana stood at one percent which was extremely low and inadequate for meaningful development. With the arrival of Glo 1 and other submarine cables the total bandwidth capacity of 2,040 gigabytes will be available to Ghana… It is therefore expected that the increase in bandwidth capacity will be more than adequate to meet the increasing demand for communication services, promote and support business process outsourcing industry in Ghana by creating jobs and revenues to government while exerting a downward pressure on prices as a result of increased competition.”
Governments and its various bureaucratic institutions are waking up from their slumber to the new dawn of era where things are down the digital way therefore acknowledging the essence of the placing much attention to the developments and improvements of the necessary infrastructures that propel the growth of technological advancement in their countries.
It is a welcoming news when government also forge close collaborations with industry players to ensure a smooth and an enabling playing ground where both parties sees each other as partners in the market, delivering quality yet affordable services to the end user.

By:Benjamin Nana Appiah Acquaye
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