ICT is growing in Ghana, but needs more investment
It has been argued that the development of information and communication technology (ICT) provides leapfrogging opportunities for developing countries. Ghana has not been left out in this revolution. According to the Data Development Group of the World Bank, ICT infrastructure in Ghana is progressing better than other low-income countries and above the 1.1% average for Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Government of Ghana has, since February 2004, enacted an ICT development policy with 14 priority areas. The thrust of the policy is to primarily concentrate on promoting ICT physical infrastructure development, which will in turn facilitate the development of the private sector.
It is heartening to note that in 2009 Ghana was ranked as the most preferred business destination in sub-Saharan Africa for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) business in the AT Kearney Global Services Location Index. The ranking which is based on a country’s ability to handle business is done under three main criteria: financial attractiveness; people skills and availability; and business environment.
Additionally the 2009 “Outsourcing to Africa Report” for the relative ranking of 15 country locations also recognized Ghana as ready and upcoming in infrastructure status for outsourcing with positive People Driver indicators as well.
The Kofi Annan ICT center is in Accra
The Kofi Annan ICT Centre of Excellence, a joint Ghana/India project has been commissioned with a responsibility to produce the human resource capacity needed for the emerging ICT industry in Ghana and the sub-region.
The Multi-Media Centre is also to serve as an incubator where new private companies in the industry can be nurtured and relocated to the Technology Parks Business Centre, which is to be setup at FreeZone enclave at Tema.
These notwithstanding, various investments in ICT infrastructure by existing Internet Service Providers and telecommunication companies are helping to improve communication service delivery in the country. Others too are launching systems that aim at enhancing the provision of high-speed access to the internet and multimedia capabilities. Recently, the Government signed an agreement with Microsoft Corporation under which the largest ICT Company in the world would provide resources to improve ICT education in Ghana.
Vodafone Ghana recently launched the fastest internet cafe in Africa with over 40 megabytes per second. The Vodafone internet café and retail store, with its Wi-Fi area can seat up to 100 customers in air conditioned comfort plus the outdoor seating area. Top of the line graphic card and multimedia kits are also installed for those that love online gaming.
The new Vodafone Internet Cafes & Retail stores are located in Cantonments, Accra North, Accra Central, Accra Mall, Tema, Kumasi, Koforidua, Ho, Tamale and Takoradi.
The effect of all these has been the modest growth in ICT activities in Ghana. A host of foreign companies has been attracted to Ghana. Some of these are Affiliated Computer Services, Data Management International Inc., Rising Data Solutions, Global Response, Busy Internet, AQ Solutions and Supra Telecom. Indications are that a lot more are in the pipeline.
The telecommunications sector in Ghana has been liberalized and reformed.
The monopoly of the former Post and Telecommunications Corporation was abolished with the enactment of the National Communications Authority Act, 1996 (Act 524), which established the National Communications Authority (NCA) as sector regulator.
The object of the National Communications Authority is to regulate the provision of communications services in Ghana.
The market continues to grow aggressively in all segments, particularly, in the telephony space.
Over the last 5 years and 8 years respectively, the market uptake has been growing at a compound average growth rate of 62.3% and 58.3% respectively.
With respect to the market, telephone penetration at the end of 2008 was 52.4% composed of 99% mobile and 1% fixed.
As at the end of 2008, the total number of fixed and mobile lines was 11,714,330 with fixed lines amounting to about 143,900 and the mobile lines making up the rest.
Vodafone Ghana is the main fixed line operator with a huge market share of 97.98%.
Westel which is now Zain had fewer subscribers covering the Accra- Tema Metropolis and a market share of 2.02%.
There are six (6) cellular network operators in Ghana namely: Scancom Ghana Limited (MTN), Vodafone Ghana Limited, Millicom Ghana Limited (Tigo), Airtel Communication, Expresso and Globacom Ghana Limited (Glo).As at November 2012 the market for telecom operators stood at 26,616,427.
MTN leads the pack 46% of the market share, followed by Vodafone with 21%.The other four companies –Airtel, Glo, Expresso and Glo have 12%, 6%, 1%, and 14%, respectively.
The total market share in January 2013 increased to 26,086,795 with the following market share amongst the players MTN 45%, Vodafone 21%, Airtel Mobile 13%, GLO 6%, Expresso 1% and Tigo 14%.
Internet usage has caught up rapidly with Ghanaians over the last six to ten years.
Growth has been particularly strong in the private sector for which the internet has become an important tool for business.
Below is a list of communication service providers in Ghana at the moment.