ACCRA, Ghana (PANA) – The Ghanaian Ministry of Communications (MOC) and Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to set the tone for the commencement of a Pan-African e-network project in Ghana.
The project, estimated to cost billions of dollars, was a promise made by the Indian President, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, at an African Union (AU) conference in Johannesburg in September 2004, to provide instant connectivity between African leaders (VVIP network) together with tele-medicine and tele-education. Following Pres. Abdul Kalam’s promise, an MOU was signed between the Indian Government and the AU on October 27, 2005, and TCIL selected to implement the project.
Communications Minister Albert Kan-Dapaah, who signed on behalf of the government on Jan. 18, said the e-network project would cover the 53 member States of the AU by satellite and fiber optic network to promote tele-medicine, tele-education and VVIP connectivity. He noted that the project would put the AU countries on the path to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by contributing significantly to socio-economic development and productivity in the beneficiary countries. The e-education and e-medicine aspects of the project would provide the opportunity to extend essential ICT infrastructure to certain rural communities and under-served areas, and bring excellent applications in health and education to their doorstep.
“We believe that the successful implementation of the project will go a long way to minimize the disparities in development between our urban and rural communities and hopefully, contribute to the early realization of our MDGs,” he said.
Kan-Dapaah said the Ministry was working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health to identify appropriate interlocutors for the tele-education and tele-medicine, respectively, as designated hubs to interact with their Indian counterparts, as the main service location would be in India. Experts from the three ministries are in link with their counterparts in India to share knowledge and experience on developing content for efficient use of the facility, the commencement of which was slated for January 2007.
Ganash Pandey, TCIL regional director for West Africa, said his company was hopeful that the project would put Africa on the path to accelerated development. TCIL will design and supply the equipment, and undertake installation, training, testing as well as commissioning and maintenance of a Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) based network. It would also operate the Project for a five-year period before handing over to an African team. The network shall offer one tele-education and tele-medicine terminal each and a VVIP communication node for Heads of State in each of the beneficiary countries.