he Ghana Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has held its 2016 meeting in Accra, on the theme, “Building a Strong Multi-Stakeholder Model for a Sustainable Development of the Internet in Ghana”.
The Ghana IGF is a forum that seeks to bring all stakeholders of the Internet including users, network operators, lawyers, and software developers to discuss governance issues around the Internet in Ghana.
The 2016 Ghana IGF was held in the light of massive infrastructure developments over the last few year and issues of security online.
The Forum discussed key issues on Internet governance in Ghana, such as cyber security, affordable access, critical internet infrastructure, data protection and openness, child safety and many other topical issues on global IGF scenes, which are also relevant to Ghana.
Mr Ato Sarpong, a Deputy Minister of Communications, said government would put the right policies in place to ensure that by the 2020 there is broad band service in every urban area in Ghana.
The Deputy Minister urged the ICT experts to come out with the model of achieving the target of providing every urban home with a broad service.
He said internet came to Ghana in 1992, however, countries which followed suit some years later were now far ahead Ghana in terms of internet access and usage.
Mr Sarpong said the genesis of the year 2000, the National Communications Authority (NCA) record shows that Ghana was having about 132 internet service providers, but today there are only eight active internet service providers.
He said despite the fact that there is internet in Ghana, not all areas of country had access to internet and phone services, and that government would continue to do its best to address the situation.
Mr Sarpong said Ghanaians talk too much, yet do nothing; he however suggested that recommendations from forums of this nature should be translated into productive work for the benefits on the citizenry.
Professor Nii Narku Quaynor, Chairman, Internet Society (ISOC) Ghana, said dialogue and engagement were there only way to address the complex issues of the internet.
He said IGF regular annual meeting was very essential to afford stakeholders to dialogue on internet governance issues.
Nene Nagai Kasa VIII, Chairman of the Ghana Child Online Protection Steering Committee, said there is the need for all to join in the Committee’s programme in order to protect children online.
He also called for ideas and suggestions for enhancing the welfare of children
Ms Dorothy Gordon, the Director-General of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, expressed concern over report emanating from the media that Ghana had given away $200 million to the Kingdom of Netherlands for transfer of E-learning contents.
She said although the agreement was good, Ghanaians ICT experts were capable of providing such services, so that the hard earned currency would remain in the economy.
She called support for local companies in driving the internet for the nation’s socio-economic development.
Mr William Matthew Tevie, NCA Director-General, said the goal of the Authority is to regulate the communications industry in a forward-looking and transparent manner that promotes fair and sustainable competition, stimulates innovation, encourages investment, protects stakeholders’ interests and facilitates universal access to quality communications services for national development.
On digital migration, the Director-General applied to stakeholders to support the NCA in its regulatory efforts.
Speaking on the importance of this year’s forum, Mr Eric Akumiah, the Coordinator IGF, Ghana, said “this year we want to focus on the model that will help us create awareness on Internet government issues and sustain the discussions into the future.”
He said Internet Governance forums seek to bring stakeholders together to meet and share experience on what they have been doing and collaborate where the need arises to develop the Internet.
Chairperson of IGF Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group Chair, Lynn St. Amour speaking at forum via the internet, said very year there are global, national, and regional IGFs events happening around the world.
She said every IGF offers a unique space for an amazing range of people to share information and develop solutions on key Internet issues.