The rare and extraordinary commendation of Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC) by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament during a review of GIFEC’s Statement of Operations and Financial Position on 3rd February, 2023, goes to affirm the stellar leadership of Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (MP), as Minister in charge of Communications and Digitalisation and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of GIFEC.
Isaac Yaw Opoku – Member of Parliament (MP) for Offinso South Constituency, who led the review, observed that GIFEC posted an impressive 7.2% increase in surplus of income over expenditure, compared to the previous year, significantly improving its liquidity, as a result. He concluded that GIFEC’s “financial position is very good. Non-Current Assets increased by 14.5%, Current Assets by 20.1%. Their liquidity position is very strong and (has) even improved over the previous year. In fact, they did well and need to be commended”.
Indeed, GIFEC, under the stewardship of Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful (MP), as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Fund since 2017, has chalked unprecedented accomplishments, not only in terms of the aforementioned prudent financial management, but also in terms of the magnitude and impact of its projects.
Prior to her tenure, GIFEC, as part of its flagship Rural Telephony Project (RTP), had established 120 Telephony Sites, between 2005 and 2016. Her strategic influence led to the innovation of Ghana’s Rural Star UMTS 900, a solution developed by Huawei Technologies to significantly accelerate Ghana’s efforts at bridging the digital divide. This technology, which has since been replicated in other African countries, resulted in the deployment of 413 Rural Sites across the country, between 2017 and 2019, with MTN as the Network Provider, in partnership with GIFEC.
Through her leadership, the Government of Ghana (GoG), through a strategic agreement with Huawei and China National Technical Import & Export Corporation (CNTIC), secured funding from the China EXIM Bank to establish 2,016 Rural Telephony Sites in as many communities across the country, to provide mobile network coverage to an estimated 3.4 million more citizens.
Since its commencement in 2020, though slightly delayed by COVID-19, 473 out of 1,008 built sites are active currently and delivering Voice and Data services to citizens. Efforts are in place to ensure that all 1,008 sites are activated. Equipment for the completion of all 2,016 Sites are actually in the country, awaiting funding for deployment, which is expected in the near-future.
Her role in guiding the affairs of GIFEC has also resulted in astronomical increase in the number of citizens trained in ICT, with special focus on women and girls. Indeed, about 30,000 citizens have been trained in various ICT Programmes since 2017, 70% of whom are female, with an estimated 20,000 more Ghanaians to be trained by 2024.
GIFEC’s Cyberlabs Programme also, has since 2017, equipped 1,257 schools, communities and public institutions with high-speed desktop computers and accessories, to increase access to ICT equipment. 30 additional Community ICT Centres (CIC), have been built in communities to champion the acquisition of knowledge in ICT. An additional 500 Cyberlabs are expected to be setup between 2023 and 2024.
The Fund, beginning in 2023 is also embarking on a more robust monitoring and evaluation, and other maintenance and sustainability measures to improve the impact of its investments across the country, among other strategic efforts, while maintaining its vaunted prudence.