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GHANA





Special Report


destination of choice for business


Making Ghana a


An ambitious e-Ghana Project aims to make Ghana a destination of choice for business by creating an enabling environment necessary for the growth of the ICT sector and supporting local ICT businesses and IT-enabled services. Sam Ohene reports.


Supporting local ICT businesses through funding will help cultivate wider ICT literacy in Ghana


enhanced revenue collection above the annual average of 19.65%. This should transform tax administration and business registration processes in the country, adding value to service delivery. The project will cost $60m and be


G


hana’s e-Government Project was initiated with the support of the World Bank, as part of a wider e-Ghana Project. It is conceptualised as a


public-private partnership to design, finance, build, operate and transfer an e-government application for use by institutions such as the Ghana Revenues Authority (GRA), the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) and the National Information Technology Agency. The government wants the project to


modernise and automate the operations of the GRA and the RGD as well as provide a technical platform to support the provision of a citizen-friendly service. The GRA system is expected to deliver


48 | March 2011 New African


spread over five years. It will be financed through a combination of a World Bank loan and a Special Repayment Escrow Account. GCNET (or Ghana Community Network Services Limited, which operates an electronic system for processing trade and customs documents in the country) won the bid as the private partner. The project manager is Paul Kwakyi, the IT director at the GRA headquarters in Accra. Last July, the World Bank approved the


provision of $44.7m from the International Development Association to the government of Ghana as additional funding for the e-Ghana Project. The original project, which was approved in 2006, was to cost $40m and it was to support what was then called the Ghana Information Communication Technology for Accelerated Development Programme.


The overall objective of the project


is to assist the government of Ghana to generate growth and employment by leveraging ICT. The project consists of three main components: (i) To create an enabling environment necessary for the growth of the ICT sector; (ii) Support local ICT businesses and IT-enabled services; (iii) Promote e-government applications and government communications. The proposal for additional financing


was in response to the government’s request to bring revenue and expenditure management agencies under a uniform ICT platform, and to foster effective, transparent and accountable government. Additional resources will also go towards the establishment of a Business Process Offshoring Centre to position Ghana as a destination of choice for IT business. “The additional financing brings in


positive synergistic advantages in the country, arising from the introduction of an electronic platform for the GRA as part of the overall public revenue and expenditure management system,” says Ishac Diwan, the World Bank country director for Ghana. It also ensures that access to electronic services can be decentralised at the district level, and that Ghana truly becomes a destination of choice for business.


“Resources will fund the establishment of a Business


Process Offshoring Centre to position Ghana as a destination of choice for IT business.”


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