The Minister for Communication and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, has said the Akufo-Addo government has increased the number of rural telephony sites from 78 at the end of 2016 to almost 1,500 as of February 2024. This is aimed at promoting digital inclusion and reducing the digital gap in the country.

The Minister announced this milestone achievement in Tamale on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, when she addressed Consumer Forum organized by the National Communications Authority at the University for Development Studies campus on the theme: “Safeguarding Consumer Rights through Effective Communications”.

“I am proud to state that as of February 2024, the number of rural telephony sites, which is aimed at promoting digital inclusion and reducing the digital gap, have increased from 78 at the end of 2016 to almost 1,500.”

The Ablekuma West Member of Parliament disclosed that work is currently underway to build an additional 1,006 sites this year which will bring the total number to almost 2,500 sites.

She added this will connect almost 5 million citizens who currently do not have access to voice and data services and bring them into the Information Age.

Highlighting on the country’s quest to promote regional integration and seamless communication across West Africa, Mrs. Ekuful said in June 2023, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire implemented the ECOWAS Free Roaming initiative which is the first of such arrangement.

“Although the initiative was adopted in 2016, Ghana’s agreement with Côte d’Ivoire was the first of such arrangements” she clarified.

Henceforth, the Minister indicated, “When you travel to Côte d’Ivoire, you will not pay roaming fees when you receive calls and SMS and you will send SMS and make calls using Côte d’Ivoire rates.”

She announced similar arrangements are being made with other neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso, Benin with the go-live date for Togo set for 1st July, 2024.

“In fact, ECOWAS has commended Ghana in our progress with the implementation of ECOWAS Regulations on Roaming such that a workshop on ECOWAS Roaming will be held in Ghana to facilitate the reduction of roaming rates across the sub-region. Let me applaud the NCA for their leadership on this” Mrs. Ekuful emphasized.