Government of Ghana Ministry of Communications through Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), in partnership with China National Technical Imp.& Exp. Corp and Huawei Technologies Ghana have officially launched the Rural Telephony Project at the New Edubiase District in the Ashanti Region to begin the commissioning of 2016 Rural Star sites in Ghana.
The project, which launched on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 will utilize Huawei’s novel RuralStar Technology which has been customized for Ghana through the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Communications and partners.
The cost-effective solution which will save the government up to 70% of the cost of traditional cell sites will provide voice and data services for over 3.4 million people in underserved and unserved communities to extend the national mobile communication coverage from 83% to 95% to greatly accelerate local economic development whiles improving people’s livelihoods.
Speaking at the event, the H.E Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo-Addo, President of Ghana, mentioned that Government is committed to ensuring that every Ghanaian, irrespective of tribe, religion, class, location, or identity has access to affordable and reliable voice and data connectivity.
“To this end, the Ministry of communications and the Ghana Investment Fund for Electrical Communication (GIFEC) working in partnership with mobile network operators, like MTN, Vodafone and Huawei is rolling out a rural telephony project to provide data and voice connectivity to 2016 rural telephony sites, strategically located in underserved and unserved communities across the country.” He said.
The sites will provide network coverage to over 300,000 communities and provide opportunities for over 3 million people to connect with relatives and friends while enabling these communities to have access to social, economic, health, and educational engagements.
The President of Ghana also acknowledged Huawei for the company’s contribution to the development of ICT in Ghana, especially during the recent COVID-19 pandemic and now the localized RuralStar solution, He commended partners and implementers saying; “I congratulate all who have helped to make this project a reality, especially the Ministry of Communications, Ministry of Finance, GIFEC, NCA, NITA, GRA, MTN, VDF and Huawei technologies”.
The Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu- Ekuful also indicated that no one, irrespective of their financial, economic, social status, or location should be deprived of access to quality telephony services hence the government’s keen interest in making sure that the project is delivered successfully and they intend to roll out 1000 sites by December.
“I must congratulate GIFEC, Huawei, and the Mobile Network Operators for working together to deliver this project. As policymakers, we will continue to provide leadership in implementing solutions and programs to facilitate rural connectivity.” She added.
The Managing Director for Huawei Ghana, Mr. Tommy Zhou mentioned that, currently, the RuralStar Solution is connecting numerous underserved communities empowering them socially and economically citing that the solution has also been commercially used by more than 110 Mobile Networks around the world, serving a population of over 40 million.
According to him, the local content addition reiterates the fact that Ghana and Africa as a whole hold a lot of potential in innovative technology, and Ghanaians can be very proud of this. He finally commended the Government of Ghana, Ministry of Communications, and the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), for the demonstration of leadership and ICT capacity to once again demonstrate Ghana’s leadership in digitization in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
On his part, the CEO of MTN Ghana, Mr. Selorm Adadevoh reiterated MTN’s commitment to expanding coverage to everyone. He said there’s a hunger for connectivity and access to basic voice and data services and this has been amplified with the COVID-19.
He added that MTN is ready to respond to the call as the Telecom giant has invested US$300 million in expanding and upgrading its network including the deployment of 400 rural sites based on Huawei’s RuralStar technology. In expressing his gratitude, Mr. Adadevoh lamented; “I salute [the] Government [of Ghana], GIFEC and Huawei for this initiative which id at the heart of our national connectivity agenda”.
GIFEC, through the Rural Telephony Project, has deployed 400 rural star sites to over 2000 rural communities, providing mobile network coverages to over 1,200,000 people in Ghana. Currently, Rural Star has been commercially used in more than 110 countries around the world, serving a population of over 40 million.