Private sector urged to invest in digital infrastructure

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, to speak at maiden Africa Technovate Awards
Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

…says sector’s prospects provides ‘guaranteed return on investment’

 The Ministry of Communication and Digitalisation has launched a charm offensive, inviting the private sector to invest heavily in the digital economy infrastructure, saying that such financing is not only backed by incentives but will guarantee a return on investment; owing to the high growth prospects of the sector.

Speaking on Day-two of the maiden edition of the Standard Chartered Digital Banking, Innovation & Fintech Festival, Deputy sector Minister, Ama Pomaa Boateng – herself representing the Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful – said, it is evident that digitising the economy requires massive investment from both private and state sources, and the government has invested heavily and created an enabling environment for the private sector to participate in driving efforts to the next level.

“Fully digitising our economy requires a lot of innovation and these present a lot of opportunities for the private sector to support the courses. Opportunities exist to invest in the building of connectivity infrastructure, promoting digital firms, and supporting digitalisation of the wider economy,” she said.

With countries on the continent spending, on average, 1.1 percent of GDP on digital investment despite their significant deficit, as opposed to advanced economies, which spend an average of 3.2 percent, coupled with Ghana’s goal of being the digital hub of the region, the Deputy Minister said her outfit and other state agencies continue to engage investors home and abroad to increase investment and build a world-class economy that is in tandem with global standards.

Outlining areas for possible investment, she said, “We are clear in our minds of the enormous benefits such partnerships will bring to the economy. We understand that the network of economic activities commercial transactions and professional interactions are enabled by ICT. The investment opportunities abound such as business processes outsourcing, low-cost technology to connect rural communities, developing content for use – there is a huge market for local content applications.”

“Smartphone devices, the building of towers, digitisation of government services, supply of high communication equipment, and enhancing back-office operations, especially for financial institutions, internet solution providers, bank-added services, the manufacturing, assembling and supply of computer and accessories, e-commerce and legal database platforms, logistic and medical intelligence, and many more investment opportunities, which the ministry is willing to collaborate on and provide incentives,” she added.

Madam Boateng added that the state is fully aware of the challenges that come with the expanded adoption and use of digital tools and as such, has put in place all the right measures to protect the cyberspace and create the right conditions to ensure investments in the sector are fully safeguarded.

Speaking at the same event, Board Chairman at Standard Chartered Bank, Dr. Emmanuel Kumah whilst pledging the support of his outfit to drive the digital ecosystem, said the objective transcends profit-making but is focused on meeting customer needs and developing the wider economy.

“In my mind, then, the objective for us has to be to reinvent and disrupt ourselves to improve services. This will meet, what I believe is the most important of all, customer needs. We must put customers at the center of our operations by focusing on convenience, ease of access and safety,” he said.

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