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October 19, 2017

Cybersecurity and development: Ghana’s vision for ICT (VIDEO)

By ITU News

At the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-17) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, ITU sat down with Ursula G. Owusu-Ekuful, Ghana’s Minister of Communications to discuss her country’s vision for information and communication technologies (ICTs) and their role in Ghana’s development.

What is the role of ICTs in Ghana’s development?

“It’s been immense. Every step of the way. From health, to e-commerce, digital financial services to, you name it, the way we live and work — in reducing corruption, waste in our systems, improving efficiencies in the public sector. We have used ICTs and are scaling up our application of technology in all sectors of the economy to drive growth, job creation, entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment, you name it!” said Minister Owusu-Ekuful.

Minister Owusu-Ekuful believes that the cross-cutting nature makes ICT an indispensable tool for development.

“We are looking forward to the application of ICT in all sectors of our economy,” said the Minister. “We want Ghana to be a hub, the IT hub for West Africa and the sub region. We want to take the leadership in our infrastructure, driving down the cost of data, to enable young people to explore more possibilities, and that’s how were positioning ourselves.”

And what are the major obstacles or challenges using ICTs for Sustainable Development?

Minsiter Owusu-Ekuful talked about the human resource capabilities in Ghana and other challenges facing the country.

“We are really having to deal with the capacities of our people to use these new tools… and the high cost of the Internet is also a major disincentive. We also have to think about rural penetration more for the unserved and underserved areas.”

How has Ghana benefited from its cooperation with ITU?

“They have helped us develop our ICT, helped build the capacity of our regulators… They’ve helped us with cybersecurity –training and development of cybersecurity policy and strategy. And the construction of our CERTs, computer emergency response centres.”

“I don’t think we would have gotten where we are without our keen collaboration with ITU.” — Ursula G. Owusu-Ekuful

“We value our membership at Council. We have derived enormous benefit from it and we would hope to deepen our own contribution to the debate and also what we get from it. We are stronger together, really.”

What actions do you want to see come out of WTDC?

“We want greater international collaboration on cybersecurity, we can’t go it alone. One part of the world sneezes and the rest of us catch a cold, and sneeze. So of cybersecurity, we really do want greater collaboration in that area. I think it is key, as we are scaling up efforts on the usage of technology in all sectors, we also have to improve and scale up in terms of protecting and safety in our navigation of cyberspace,” believes Minister Owusu-Ekuful.

“And child online protection as well. It’s something that we are taking very, very seriously… We are hoping that by the end of this development conference, we will be developing the strategies that will enable us to deal with many of these issues.”

For more insights, watch the video in full here:

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Cybersecurity and development: Ghana's vision for ICT (VIDEO)

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