The World Bank has disclosed that it has made available some US$70 billion to support digital infrastructure development in Ghana and other developing countries.
According to the bank, it is also conducting research and analytics and communicating with African countries and other developing countries to determine where investments are needed and to provide the required assistance.
Mr Axel Van Trostsenburg, Senior Managing Director, Development Policy and Partnership, World Bank, made this known during a panel discussion at the ongoing 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.”
Mr Trostsenburg noted that it is for that reason that the International Development Association (IDA), a World Bank subsidiary, is making available US$70bn of its US$93bn replenishing to Africa to support digital infrastructure and other developments.
Mr Trostsenburg stated that it is 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).
Incredible Increase In Economic Growth
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.”
Mr Trostsenburg, meanwhile 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 moreover, 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 has 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 disclosed that the government is exploring Private-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to increase the highspeed internet access rate from the current 30 per cent.
While at it, she said Ghana has developed many programmes that continues 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,” Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said.
Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful 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.