World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2022:  NCA leads the way in championing digitally-driven healthy ageing

technology neutrality

Ageing is a natural phenomenon that inevitably happens to all of us. Whether you are on the face of it – ageless or proudly accepting your grey hair – time inescapably passes, leaving us older.

Notwithstanding, this next stage of one’s life will be incredible if approached with an open mind and a tonne of support. And for that to happen, there is no doubt the world needs to take a critical look at digital technologies for older persons, as well as healthy ageing.

The UN World Population Ageing Report (2019) projected an increase in the world’s population of persons aged 65 years and over to 1.5billion by 2050. On the home front, according to the 2021 National Population and Housing Census, 4.3% of Ghana’s population is 65 years and above; and as may be expected, persons aged 18 years and older dominate Ghana’s population.

“To this end, there’s the need to innovate and improve on our existing technologies to aid healthy ageing,” said the Director-General of the National Communications Authority, Joe Anokye, during the celebration of this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day themed: ‘Digital Technologies for Older Persons and Healthy Ageing’.

In a speech during the celebration at the NCA towers in Accra, Mr. Anokye said to ensure the development of digitally-driven innovative products and services to aid in the quest of the country’s older population to age healthily, and be in tune with the ongoing digital revolution, government, through the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation (MoCD), anchored digitalisation as a key policy objective and initiated several programmes within the different sectors of Ghana’s economy tailored to bridge the digital divide, and to support the country’s socio-economic development.

“Among these are nationwide rural telephony and national roaming project for rural communities without stable mobile network connection; financial inclusion through mobile banking and e-payment services, national cyber-security policy, digitalisation of revenue collection and record-keeping, among other critical services provided – just to mention a few,” he stated.

Similarly, the NCA has invested in a Network Monitoring System that can monitor the quality of service of networks on which existing and potential applications thrived, he added. “This monitoring system can interface with all Service Providers’ Operations Support System to assess performance or measure their Key Performance Indexes (KPIs) against license obligations.

“In addition to providing support for the national cybersecurity policy to secure the nation’s critical infrastructure, the NCA has also invested in tools and systems within our Computer Emergency Response Team (aka NCA-CERT) that ensures the cyberspace of our constituents is a safe platform for innovations,” Mr. Anokye noted of the authority’s efforts in ensuring the country’s older generation is adequately catered for in this ever-changing and evolving digital age.

For Mr. Anokye, these, among other regulatory policies, are the basis and stimulation for technological innovations seen in all sectors including financial, health and education. “There is a vast potential to develop and advance interventions such as investment in intelligent devices, targeting the growing population of the country as well as older persons.

“This will improve autonomous living, mobility in older persons and happy healthier ageing,” he observed as the country seeks to make the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing a reality.

Achieving UN’s Decade of healthy ageing

It is understandable that as a developing country, several factors – such as connectivity and digital literacy, among others – may affect this agenda; however, the Government of Ghana is committed to expanding and making technology and digitalisation accessible to all, said the Deputy Communications and Digitalisation Minister, Ama Pomaa Boateng, who was representing the sector Minister during the celebration on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

She said during her keynote address that Ghana currently is operating on the 2G, 3G and 4G spectrum bands deployed by service providers to give access to the Internet. Additionally, she continued to provide adequate bandwidth capacity to support the country’s digitalisation agenda, Ghana has a widespread fibre optic infrastructure and international bandwidth from 5 Submarine Optic Fibre cables.

The Rural Telephony Project, which is championed by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), is also government’s initiative to connect communities to telecommunication services. The Digital Inclusion and Rural connectivity coverage area for roaming every subscriber in Ghana today irrespective of your network provider for voice, Internet and messaging. Furthermore, we are also seeing the sharing of some resources by our Mobile Network Operators resulting in the start of National Roaming in Ghana.

“These foundations are being laid for digitalisation to thrive, and support services which will enhance healthy ageing. Again, these initiatives will facilitate a digitally supportive environment which will sustain the functional independence of our older populace,” the deputy minister said.

“Through these, we have seen some service providers providing e-health services and e-commerce in the country. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) have also been adopted locally in our health, agriculture, business and education systems.”

Affordable, equitable and safe technology for all

In his address on behalf of the UN Secretary-General, UNESCO representative in Ghana, Abdourahamane Diallo, called for deliberate collaborative efforts in ensuring that technology is “equitable, safe and affordable for all people and all ages”.

This, he said, can be achieved if governments across the globe make most of the opportunities presented by 5G, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), digital health and other technological advancements to drastically improve accessibility and inclusivity.

“Nearly half of humanity still has no access to the Internet. We must connect everyone and everywhere by 2030 because leaving no one behind means leaving no one offline,” he charged, adding: “At the same time, we must take action to prevent and reduce the danger of information technology, including the spread of misinformation and exploitation of personal data. This is the vision of my road map for digital cooperation to embrace the promise of digital technology while protecting the people from its excess.”

The UN World Population Ageing Report (2019) projected an increase in the world’s population of persons aged 65 years and over to 1.5billion by 2050.

In conclusion, humanity and technology are at a turning point. During the pandemic, the world has seen what digital technologies can do and how they can transform our future.

Emerging digital technologies in fields from 5G and Internet of Things to Artificial Intelligence, to Cloud Computing are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Like other great technologies before them, they will have a profound impact on our future and that of our planet. Great possibilities come with great responsibilities, and equitable access to digital technologies isn’t just a moral responsibility, it’s essential for global prosperity and sustainability.

This includes more than one billion people who are 60 years or older at the centre of this year’s celebration of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2022. This group of the population which is growing larger and larger has greatly contributed to the social and economic achievements of our time. With time passing, they are now facing new opportunities and challenges. They deserve our care and help.



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