Government-Backed Programme Boosts ICT Market
Ghana ' s president, John Dramani Mahama, has revealed that the government will supply 400,000 laptops to schools and research institutions in 2013 as part of the next phase of its computerisation programme. BMI notes that the government is usually the biggest purchaser of consumer electronics and IT products and services in most emerging economies. The Ghanaian government ' s commitment to implementing its ambitious computerisation programme, which is complemented by investments in broadband networks, creates considerable growth opportunities in the country ' s ICT sector.
|Ghana Internet Forecast, 2010-2017|
Ghana launched its Basic School Computerisation project in September 2011. The project is part of the e-School policy under the Ministry of Education, which aims to enhance teaching and learning of ICT at the basic level of education. President Mahama disclosed that the first phase of the project had recorded significant milestones, including the distribution of around 160,000 laptops to school, institutions and individuals involved in the project. The next phase of the project, which involves the distribution of a further 400,000 laptops, will commence in early 2013 and is expected to build on the successes recorded so far.
This development bodes well for growth in Ghana's ICT market, which, like many emerging economies, is limited by the high cost of devices compared to average income levels, a general lack of awareness and limited access to internet services. BMI notes that the government's move mirrors the trend in many other emerging economies where government patronage is often required to jumpstart the ICT market. Local equipment vendor rlg Communications, which assembles its products locally, was contracted to supply majority of the laptops in the first phase of the computerisation project. The firm is expected to also play a significant role in the second phase but it is uncertain if the company can deliver the expected number of devices during this phase. The likelihood of a deficit creates an opportunity for other regional and global vendors to expand their presence in Ghana to take advantage of the emerging opportunities in the country's ICT market.
Besides government patronage, another key factor expected to drive growth in Ghana's ICT market is the rapid expansion of broadband networks. Ghana is now connected to multiple submarine cable systems, including MainOne and WACS, while its leading network operators are investing considerable resources in the rollout of next generation access technologies. BMI expects this trend, along with the state-funded PC and laptop uptake, growing awareness of ICT services in the country and economic growth, to ultimately boost the consumer market for advanced ICT services in Ghana.