Owusu-Ekuful said funding has been a major challenge to increase accessibility to high-speed internet in the country
Only 30% of Ghana’s population can access high-speed internet although the West African country operates on a 4G infrastructure for the past eight years.
Speaking at the IMF and World Bank 2023 annual meetings in Marrakech, Morocco, Ghana’s communication and digitalisation minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said funding has been a major challenge to increase accessibility to high-speed internet in the country.
“One of the biggest challenges we are faced with is funding, [and] financing the big infrastructural projects,” Owusu-Ekuful said during a panel discussion on the theme: “Building foundations for an inclusive digital future.”
“If you look at the fact that since we set up eight years ago to build the 4G network in our country, we only have 30% of our population having access to high-speed broadband. We still have a very long way to go,” she added.
According to her, the situation must be addressed so that more Ghanaians can take advantage of the 4th industrial revolution. As part of measures to fix it, she said the government is exploring public-private partnership to raise more funds to build digital infrastructure.
“As our economies are struggling and getting increasingly saddled with the international capital-market, we are finding other ways of financing our infrastructure development and looking at public-private partnership initiatives,” the minister said.
In order to protect digital infrastructure, she cited the creation of the Cyber Security Authority, the formation of a cyber security committee, and the licensing of cyber security professionals as ways of protecting applications and services.
“Another key area that is of utmost concern to us is cyber security,” Owusu-Ekuful said. “We cannot rollout digital infrastructure without securing our data and so much riding on it. Every sector is digitally connected.”
Axel Van Trotsenberg, senior managing director, development policy and partnership at the World Bank, who was also on the panel, said the World Bank is committed to scaling up the financing of digital infrastructure in developing countries, including Ghana, by making US$70 billion accessible for digital developments.