The World Bank says it has made available some US$70 billion to support digital infrastructure development in Ghana and other developing countries. The Bank is also conducting research and analytics and communicating with African and other developing countries to determine where investments were needed and to provide the required assistance. Mr Axel Van Trostsenburg, Senior Managing Director, Development Policy and Partnership, World Bank, said this during a panel discussion at the WBG/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meetings in Marrakech. The discussion was on the topic: ‘Building foundations for an inclusive digital future.’ Contributing to the discussion, Mr Trostsenburg indicated that nine out of every 10 people in advanced countries had access to digital services, while in low-income countries, it was one to four, and that needed to change. The World Bank official, however, said: ‘You cannot build this digital future on the basis of hope…you’ll need financing; therefore, international institutions have to scale up.’ It was for that reason that the International Development Association (IDA), a World Bank subsidiary, was making available US$70bn of its US$93bn replenishing to Africa to support digital infrastructure and other developments. He said it was important for physical digital infrastructure to be developed and linked to the acceleration of the implementation and realisation of the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The World Bank Senior Managing Director noted that with a regional integration under AfCFTA through digital development, ‘you’ll be surprised what incredible increase of economic growth.’ He said: ‘We would like to engage the African leadership to know the strategic investments we should undertake and those that African can undertake with the support of the World Bank.’ Mr Trostsenburg called for the adoption of multi-set of approaches in helping countries with regulatory frameworks, setting up infrastructure and mobilise private sector finance for digital development. Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Ghana’s Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, said that the country’s digital acceleration had been grappled with inadequate access to finance due to global economic challenges. ‘Since we set off about eight years ago to build fourth generation (4G) networks in our country, we only have about 30 per cent of our population with access to highspeed broadband,’ she said. The Minister, however, said the government was exploring Private-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to increase the highspeed internet access rate from the current 30 per cent. While at it, she said Ghana had developed many programmes that continued to be beneficial to all people, from those at primary school level to the working population, including peasant farmers and persons with disabilities (PWDs). ‘Those who had never seen a computer before are now building their own websites and simple games…and have moved from aspiring to be in the traditional professions to be software and robotic engineers,’ she said. She announced that Ghana would be hosting the first global cyber security capacity building conference in November 2023, which would shape conversations of having strong capacities for the global south. That, she said would be helpful in reducing the global south’s dependence on expensive consultants in managing digital infrastructure.
Source: Ghana News Agency