A new report by GSMA, a mouthpiece for over 300 global mobile operators, has recommended how the mobile industry and government could work together to support Ghana’s socio-economic progress.
“Ghana is already proactively supporting the SDGs and has incorporated them into the country’s national development agenda with progress overseen by the President.
“Government’s commitment to the SDGs reflects the fact that while Ghana is a fast-growing economy and has made progress on many fronts, development challenges and gaps in access to basic services persist,” it mentioned.
Given the large number of people who have access to mobile phones, it said mobile platforms were uniquely placed to support the SDGs, adding that industry had connected 67 percent of the population in Ghana, which now has the second highest internet penetration in West Africa.
Furthermore, the report said mobile had connected eight million individuals to financial services, supported farmers and provided access to health information, clean energy and more, underscoring the vital role mobile technology can play in supporting sustainable development in Ghana.
The report, launched in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), examined the transformative opportunities presented by mobile-enabled digital services in Ghana.
The report, however, noted that despite the progress, significant challenges remain, many of which require collaboration between the public and private sectors.
For example, there was a gender gap in Ghana of approximately 16 percent in mobile phone ownership and 17 percent in the use of mobile money services, with an even higher gap (56 percent) in use of the internet, with 2.5 million fewer women online than men.
Mobile operators are working to tackle this through programmes such as the GSMA Connected Women Commitment initiative, while governments can take steps to address this issue by integrating gender equality targets and key performance indicators into strategies, policies, plans and budgets, involving women and local communities.
At a recent high-level roundtable meeting, which saw members of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in attendance, participants signed a communiqué committing to maximise opportunities for mobile to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a range of areas, including agriculture, gender equality, financial service access, innovation and entrepreneurship.
“Mobile offers the most widespread and inclusive means of accessing the internet and digital technologies, which are vital to the Ghanaian economy and its growth in an increasingly connected world,” said Akinwale Goodluck, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA.
Philip Smith, Head of DFID Ghana and Liberia, commented: “DFID recognises that out of all communication tools, mobile technology is the first to reach across geographies, income levels and cultures. For this reason, we see mobile technology as vital for sustainable development across a wide range of government sectors and departments. DFID are proud to be supporting this collaboration with our partners from the GSMA and UNDP, and look forward to supporting the outcomes of the National Dialogue.”
UNDP Ghana Country Director, Dominic Sam, said, “Few other technologies have grown so fast and have had so much to offer in terms of new ways of delivering services, stimulating businesses, enabling citizens to have their voices heard and countries to leapfrog development models to achieve their goals.”
He said UNDP was very pleased to partner with the GSMA and the UK Government in this direction.
Source: Daily Guide
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