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Utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI) to speed Ghana’s dev’t – George Andah

A flag hoisting ceremony to mark the celebration of this year’s World Telecommunication Day has been held in Accra with a call on the public to tap the potentials of Artificial Intelligence in order to fast-track Ghana’s development.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) a highly complex technology that allows computers to function like the human brain, has been used for business solutions for Uber and Airbnb, which own no taxi or apartments yet run successful businesses in the country.

This year’s World Telecommunication Day is on the theme: “AI for Social Good.”

Mr George Andah, Deputy Minister of Communication, noted that Artificial Intelligence had been successfully been applied to societal problems and it has the potential to promote social good in the future despite some few challenges associated with it.

Mr Andah said Ghana was not an exception of the countries that were considering how AI would effectively affect the country’s future.

According to him, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was also encouraging its members to focus on AI potentials to accelerate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by 2030.

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“To be able to achieve this feat, the Government of Ghana must create the appropriate, desired and needed an ecosystem for AI to thrive,” he added.

Mr Andah said it was for that reason that government had invested heavily in fibre infrastructure nationwide with complimentary private sector investment to facilitate the provision of value-added services for the public.

“To ensure that we enhance connectivity nationwide to support AI ecosystem, the National Communication Authority (NCA) authorised Mobile network Operators to deploy Universal Mobile Telecommunication System in the 2G band to ensure that unserved and underserved areas of the country gain the needed access to data,” he added.

The Deputy Minister of Communication said emerging statistics showed that more than 36 communities in unserved and served areas of the country have successfully connected to 3G over the past six months by just one network operator.

“The Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications has also rolled out a Universal Access to Telephony Programme which extends the coverage of mobile telephone services into areas where access to such service is not adequately available.”

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Mr Andah was elated over the use of AI in health Service deliveries, noting that in the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, AI was used in tracking real-time trends in population movements which assisted in decision making and policies to control the epidemic.

“Also in the area of education, AI can assist in some of the administrative activities such as marking of assignments thereby enabling teachers to focus more on guiding the students.”

He stressed the need to drive the excitement of AI among the youth so they could understand its potentials and its data usage.

Mr Joe Anokye, Director General of NCA, said the digital revolution in society had reached a stage where every second counted and that failure to stay in tune could be disastrous to individuals and nations.

Mr Anokye said this year’s World Telecommunication Day celebration theme aspired to link present to the future with full commitment and vigilance towards the deployment of AI for the good of humanity.

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He said Ghana stood the chance of doing better when greater awareness is created for AI, adding that, the NCA was partnering the appropriate institutions for effective utilisation of the Nation’s cyberspace.

Mr Houlin Zha, the Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in a speech read on his behalf, said AI’s potential was being developed at an unprecedented speed and pledged the union’s commitment to work with all stakeholders in order to bring its benefits to all.

As part of the day’s celebration, the NCA held a symposium to throw light on topics such as: “The role of the Mobile Network Operators, AI for Financial Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, Advancing Health Delivery through AI.

Source: GNA