A4AI proudly hosted its first in-country engagement last month in Accra. Technology leaders from across Ghana and the rest of the world gathered at our interactive forum in the warm capital city of Accra. The forum, the first of its kind, had a very clear mission: to bring about policy change to make broadband internet more affordable and ensure universal access.
Our work in the country is done in partnership with the Government of Ghana, with whom A4AI signed a memorandum of understanding last year. Despite the recent landing of four new fibre optic submarine cables in Ghana, broadband remains too expensive for most Ghanaians and is largely an urban phenomenon. The country ranked 30 out 46 countries in our latest Affordability Index and the International Telecommunication Union estimates that only 17% of Ghanians currently use the internet. By drawing on the expertise of A4AI’s more than 55 members and the input of key stakeholders in Ghana, we are taking concrete steps to address some of the country’s key policy challenges.
Over 60 stakeholder representatives collaborated towards the development of a new structured action plan and identified the priority areas that the national coalition will work to address. For each strand of our work, the coalition will delegate a subcommittee to take responsibility for ensuring progress in each of the key areas that have been identified:
• data collection and research to develop solid evidence for policy decision making
• effective sector taxation
• infrastructure sharing amongst service providers
• price transparency and citizens awareness of services and their benefits
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that can make universal access to the internet a reality, so our work in the country is grounded upon the principles of consultation and open dialogue among all interested stakeholders. In Ghana, we are particularly concerned with affordable access for those living below the poverty line and those who are most excluded, including women, rural populations and minority groups.
Further announcements regarding future in-country engagement activities will be made soon, as A4AI plans to be working with 10-12 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia by 2015.
We hope you will continue following our progress as we embark on our mission to bring real changes to make internet more affordable for all. You can access documents from our forum and a list of the A4AI-Ghana Coalition members here.
Photo Caption: Panelists share their thoughts on the key challenges to affordable Internet access in Ghana. From left: Kafui Prebbie, TechAide; Dr. Goski Alabi, Consumer Advocacy Centre; Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Google; Ernest Brown, Ghana Internet Service Providers Association. Photo credit: Emilie Yam / A4AI
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