Gov’t, telcos, stakeholders must collaborate to build digital economy – Vodafone CEO

Women CEOs in Africa

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vodafone Ghana, Patricia Obo-Nai, has asserted that Ghana’s desired digital economy can only be achieved if government, telcos and other stakeholders collaborate.

According to her, the development of Ghana’s digital economy has become a major focal point on the radar of government and other stakeholders, particularly in the wake of the on-raging COVID-19 pandemic – which has brought to the fore the critical importance of digital tools and interventions.

For the desired outcome to be attained, however, Patricia mentioned that certain fundamental factors have to be put in place. She stated that, for example, Internet connectivity is an indispensable ingredient in a country’s forward match toward realising a digital economy. However, Ghana continues to rank among the countries with lowest levels of Internet penetration.

“In this day and age, we are unfortunately still talking about 2G Internet connectivity in major parts of Ghana. How are we going to be able to drive a digital economy in Ghana when, thanks to low coverage, people use handsets that can only make phone calls?” she quizzed.

She added: “There are so many towns in this country that are not connected to the Internet. Until appropriate infrastructure is pegged down, we cannot go beyond these summits and discussions to actually deliver the desired digital economy”.

In the light of these prevalent circumstances, Patricia averred that the way forward is for government to partner with telcos and other stakeholders and collaborate toward rectifying the current gap in digital infrastructure; and subsequently leveraging on this to build a resilient and formidable digital economy.

According to her, neither the telcos nor government on their own have the capacity to make the digital economy a reality. She urged government to put in place the policies, necessary infrastructure and enabling environment to accelerate Ghana’s digital transformation.

“The current high cost of operation derails all efforts. As it stands now, it costs a telco a whopping US$30million to acquire enough spectrum to provide 4G Internet for a specific location. Coupled with this are other operational costs. All these considered, we cannot achieve the much talked about universal access by 2030 unless we join forces. This is why I say that it is a shared responsibility.”

Ms. Obo-Nai made these comments during a panel discussion at the fifth edition of Ghana CEO Summit held in Accra, under the theme ‘Digital transformation: Powering business and government reset for a post-pandemic economic resilience; A public-private sector dialogue’.

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