Digital Inclusion: We must address the tech affordability gap - Deputy Comms Minister

Deputy Minister for Communications and digitilization, Ms. Ama Pomaa Boateng has said the Ministry must take into consideration the majority of persons in the country who are unable to afford access to technology and thus ensure their inclusion in the country's digital ecosystem.

Ghana’s internet penetration rate according to the Digital 2023 Global Overview Report, stood at 53.0% of the total population at the start of 2022, as 16.99 million internet users were recorded in January 2022.

47.0% of the population remained offline at the beginning of the year.

Speaking on behalf her boss, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, at the mobile technology for development conference, Ms Pomaa Boateng explained that digital inclusion in Ghana is meaning if the problems of acess and it's efficient usage are not addressed.

The theme for the 2023 mobile technology for development conference was; Driving Digital Financial Inclusion in the real economy.

She further called on all relevant stakeholders within the industry to work together to ensure the pricing aspect on the use of technological devices by the informal sector and the country's 'real economy' is properly addressed

"Our drive towards univiersal access to technology and digital inclusion is meaningless if we do not look at access and usage especially for majority of our people who are unable to afford it."

"In doing this, we must look at pricing to make sure it is affordable"

"Even though are doing remarkably well by making data affordable, I still think there is still some work to be done that will require a multi stakeholder approach to drive our prices down." She added.

Ms. Ama Pomaa Boateng also opined that the optimal pricing of data spectrum together with it's availability as some of the structural initiatives being undertaken by the ministry to ensure the country makes gains in the digital inclusion affordability index.

"We may to consider optimal pricing of spectrum and making them available, completing work on the revision of the tower guidelines and working with out state agencies to reduce the incidence of fibre cuts"

"These are policy interventions my ministry is committed to working on and I am sure we can continue to show further improvement in the affordabilty index" The deputy Minister said.

The Deputy Minister who doubles as the Juaben MP, ended her speech by reiterating Government's resolve to put in place the necessary policy to ensure digital inclusion in the country blossoms.

She also assured of the Ministry's commitment towards working with stakeholders to build and support digital inclusion initiatives for the country's "real economy".

"I would like to echo government commitment to ensure our real economy is working and has the right policy and regulatory atmosphere to blossom in a way that upholds the interest of Ghanaians." She said.

Source: Chamber News Desk