With the massive investment by government in broadband infrastructure, it is expected that Internet usage will expand, especially with the increased capacity for the deployment of 4th Generation Applications, Dr Omane-Boamah, Minister for Communication, has stated.
Dr Omane-Boamah said in anticipation of this and in partnership with the internet community, Government was supporting the development of critical internet infrastructure by arranging for the supply of three additional switches for Internet Exchange Points and a Root Name Server to improve internet traffic, reduce its costs, promote local content development and, above all, reinforce its security to make it secure and safe for users.
The Communication Minister, who was delivering the keynote address at the opening of the first Ghana e-Commerce Exhibition and Conference in Accra, yesterday, therefore, described the e-commerce Expo as a welcome development in the promotion of ICT for national development.
He said the e-Commerce Exhibition and Conference would bring out the valued responses to the numerous initiatives that Government was putting in place to transform Ghana’s economy and country from an agrarian, raw-material-dominated production base into a forward-looking, information and knowledge-based society that held the key to eventual national prosperity.
He disclosed that in promoting electronic commerce in Ghana, Government had, on its own, commenced the introduction of a set of e-Services for Web Content Management, e-Forms and Document Work Flow and had developed online payments on a pilot basis as a shared service for 10 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
These MDAs, he said, were the Passport Office, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Division (DVLA), Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ghana Tourist Authority (GTA), Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, Births and Deaths Registry, Accra Metropolitan Assembly, National Identification Authority (NIA), National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Minerals Commission.
Furthermore, he said, a pilot e-Payments/e-Commerce Platform had been developed as a shared service for 12 selected MDAs and the initial tests on functionality had been positive while the Controller and Accountants General’s Department had been approached to initiate procedures for the opening of pool accounts for the processing of Visa and e-Transact payments. Dr Omane-Boamah disclosed that the Ghana E-Payment Platform (GEPP) had also been developed as a feature-rich processing solution to be integrated with government’s National e-Services Portal (e-Services.gov.gh) for the provision of high-end marketing and service/product management tools together with high performance and scalability to meet the expected high usage.
He said the GEPP had supported various types of online payment methods complemented by Payall, a Ghana Payment Network accepting cash and cheque payments through an offline payment confirmation process, adding that with an increasing popularity and geographical reach of online payments, the usage of cash and cheque payments were expected to decline and be replaced completely by online payments. He said the GEPP was interfacing with different partners for online and offline processing of payments made for governmental services on the e-Payment Platform. Dr Omane-Boamah noted that with the relative progress in ICT development, the moment had arrived for the country to reap the benefits of technology and improve its balance of trade with the rest of the world. In a statement, Mr Syl Juxton-Smith, an International Trade Business Security Consultant described the e-Commerce highway as one of the benefits of the internet.
Mr Juxton-Smith stressed the need for transparency on the internet platform and called for collaboration and vigilance in the fight against cyber fraud.
In a welcome address, Mr Paul Asinor, Event Director of Occupational Management Limited, Africa (OML Africa), an international management consultancy specialising in Human Resource, Recruitment and Training, stressed the need to use technology as a necessity for survival.
Mr Asinor, therefore, pledged the continued efforts of OML Africa in creating a platform and enhancing values to all businesses and entrepreneurs who would take advantage of many benefits of trading online.
He gave the assurance that cyber fraud―the greatest danger of trading online, and in which Ghana had attained the unenviable rank of number two in cyber fraud in Africa―would be tackled during the conference.
Delegates from Ghana, Nigeria and India are attending the two-day conference which is being organised by OML Africa on the theme: Building Ghana’s businesses online.
The objectives of e-Commerce Expo include: to create opportunities for showcasing e-Commerce services, solutions and products; to create a nationwide awareness among Ghanaians about e-Commerce and its prospects; to explore opportunities that might be created through extending the use of e-Commerce services and products; and to encourage investment initiatives in the field of e-Commerce, among others.
Delegates from Ghana, Nigeria and India will be taken through various key areas of trading online on topics such as Developing an e-Commerce Strategy; Practical Online Payment Solutions; Mobile Money Transfer & the Rural Economy; How to Use e-Marketing for your Business; Growing your Business with Mobile Social Commerce; E-Business Ecosystem― the Ghana Perspective; Cyber Fraud―the Seamless Frontier; and many more. There will also be panel discussions and conference presentations at the summit running alongside the exhibition, giving delegates the chance to gain an insight into topics such as mobile commerce, cloud computing, digital marketing, using social media & e-marketing for business, cyber fraud, on-line payments, online reputation management and more.
Some notable speakers are Professor Nii Narku Quaynor (2013 Internet Hall of Fame Inductee); Dr Pradeep Murkherjee (President, Avasant); William Tevie (Director-General, National IT Agency); Alexander Sulzberger (CEO, Ecoband Networks); Kofi Dadzie (CEO, Rancard Solutions); Derrydean Dadzie (CEO, Dream Oval); and Dennis Chattaway (Management Adviser), among many other reputable experts.
The exhibition, which is free to attend, will have on display various Ghanaian on-line solutions and products with an impressive list of exhibitors including Tigo, Ghanadot.com, Internet Ghana, Delilah’s Secret, Ghanafx, NandiMobile, e-BuyGhana, Airtel, mNotify, Promobile Gh, in-Charge Global, and Mpower. The others are Business Ghana, TXQ Global, dot Ghana, Accolm, Printing and Imaging Solutions and many others.