The National Communications Authority (NCA), joined the rest of the world in commemorating this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) under a global theme, ‘Digital Technologies for Older Persons and Healthy Ageing’.
The day is observed annually on 17th May. The event took place at the NCA Tower in Accra.
According to the Director-General of the NCA, Mr. Joe Anokye, the theme for this year’s celebration was significant and timely as very little attention has been paid to that category of people.
He indicated that there is a vast potential to develop and advance in various areas including investment in intelligent devices which target the growing population of the country as well as older persons. This, he said, will increase older people’s autonomy and mobility resulting in happier, healthier aging.
Mr. Anokye stated that the Government of Ghana and the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation (MOCD) have anchored digitalisation as a key policy objective and have also initiated several programmes within the different sectors of Ghana’s economy tailored aimed at bridging the digital divide.
He added that the policies are what make technological innovations possible in all fields including finance, health care, and education.
In her keynote address, the Deputy Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Hon. Ama Pomaa Boateng, speaking on behalf of the sector minister, Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, stated that digital tools have become indispensable in our society such that the digital inclusion of all persons has become necessary.
Hon. Boateng noted that “since 2017, the MoCD, with the support of His Excellency, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and His Excellency, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, has embarked on an ambitious infrastructure development programme for the ICT sector as part of efforts to support the digitalisation of the economy”.
She further indicated that these digital foundations are being laid for digitalisation to thrive and support services that will enhance healthy aging. She pointed out that a number of Service Providers providing e-health services and e-commerce in the country have employed Artificial Intelligence and ICT for efficient and effective service delivery.
The Board Chairman of NCA, Mr. Emmil Osei -Bonsu Jnr., in a speech read on behalf of the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), outlined how digital technology aided the livelihood of everyone during the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. He added that the day marks the founding of ITU and reiterated that WTISD 2022 presents an unprecedented opportunity to bridge cycles of exclusion and accelerate digital transformation in our society.
The Head of the Office and Representative of UNESCO to Ghana, Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo, was also present to deliver the message of the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. Mr. Guterres on the other hand was of the view that New technologies, from 5G and big data to cloud computing and artificial intelligence, are powerful tools to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges, including the pandemic.
According to him, “leaving no one behind means leaving no one offline. World Telecommunication and Information Society Day reminds us that international cooperation on digital technology is essential to help defeat COVID-19 and achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, he concluded.
Prior to an open discussion session as part of the activities for the day, representatives from relevant stakeholders such as Afrifanom Limited, Zipline International Inc, and AllRound Specialists Virtual Clinic shed light on how ICT is promoting healthy Ageing. ExpressPay also intimated how ICT is promoting financial independence. The conversations preceded a panel discussion on the theme, “Digital Solutions for Older Persons and Healthy Ageing – The Role of All Stakeholders”.
The open discussion which was moderated by Ing. Dr. Ken Ashigbey, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications revealed that having a policy framework will aid to build confidence in an ICT infrastructure and ensure that data can be transmitted between hospitals for instance to save lives. Panelists urged the NCA and MoCD to lead the conversation on a policy framework to lead ICT digitalisation for inclusiveness in the health sector.
The event, which was held at the NCA Tower, was climaxed with a flag hoisting ceremony at the NCA premises led by the Hon. Deputy Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ama Pomaa Boateng, and supported by the Head of the Office and Representative of UNESCO to Ghana, Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo, and the Director-General of the NCA, Mr. Joe Anokye.