A Regional Development Forum (RDF) and Regional Preparatory Meeting for Africa (RPM AFR) on World Telecommunication Development Conference 2014(WTDC14) opened yesterday at the Accra International Conference Centre.
The conference which was on the theme; ICT for Development and Empowerment of Africa (IDEA) was to give opportunity to share knowledge and experience on topics ranging from the enhancement of broadband sustainability and broadband Applications for Development Empowerment to create a safer cyberspace.
The Minister for Communication Dr Edward Omane Boamah in his welcome address, expressed delight in the fact that Africa was now respected as an equal player in global agenda-setting at least within the corridors of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Africa’s attainment of the Millennium Development Goals according to him would be a mirage if ICTs were not properly harnessed and utilised, hence, the gathering of African countries in Accra to reaffirm their commitment to ICT for accelerated development.
Dr Boamah said the growth in the Information Technology sector had been phenomenal because over the past five years, Africa’s mobile cellular subscribers were estimated to grow above 300 million by the end of this year.
He revealed that in Ghana, mobile subscriptions had outstripped the total population with over 11 million subscribers in 2008 and have hit the 27,529,818th mark as at August 2013 and that there was work going on to improve on the services.
The Minister said the Ministry of Communication was not only constructing a 780km optic fiber to boost the country’s broadband capacity but also working towards deriving optimum benefits from value added services in the ICTs sector.
Mr P.V. Obeng, Senior Presidential Advisor & Chairman of National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) said Ghana accepted to host the conference because it considered as a duty to Africa as a whole and to use the platform to deal with the poverty situation in the continent.
ICT today, he said had become the key in education, water supply, and food security, finance as well as the environment but Africa was handicapped to raise enough resources to build ICT facilities to promote ICT.
Mr Braimah Sanou, Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau(BDT) said the region had experienced remarkable growth in mobile-cellular network and services development since 2008, allowing an increasing numbers of the almost 850 million people in the region to get connected and join the information society.
He said Africa had also taken leadership role in the development of appropriate technologies including applications such as mobile transfer and the converging in Accra for RDF would seize the opportunity to debate the strategic ideas that would set an even and quicker pace for the use of ICT for development and empowerment of the continent.