Accra, Nov 3, GNA - President John Dramani Mahama has inaugurated an $8.3 million Digital centre with a call on Ghanaians to accept reforms in all sectors of development.
He said: "Reforms are difficult to accept...but we need to face the challenges with available strategies and victory will be ours."
The Accra Digital Centre project, started in 2011 and financed by the World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation, is a collection of 12 old warehouses of the Public Works Department, which have been renovated with each of the buildings occupying 735 square metres. It makes a total of 8,820 square metres.
The project is one of the Government's initiatives to create opportunity for sustainable entrepreneurial employment for young Ghanaians as it is estimated to provide 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.
President Mahama said but for the reforms that were carried out in the telecommunication sector between 1996 and 1998, internet penetration would have remained minimal in the country.
He said Ghana now had a total of 37 million subscribers of cell phone lines although the population was about 27 million, because of the numerous reforms that allowed the private sector to invest in telecommunication.
The President, therefore, said the current hue and cry over the privatisation of the Electricity Company of Ghana was because Ghanaians did not understand the repercussions and called on all to read and understand issues and move away from scepticism.
President Mahama announced that apart from the Accra Digital Centre, the Government was also putting finishing touches to a National Data Centre deemed to be the largest centre in West Africa.
"The Accra Digital Centre will boost job creation and enhance the drive for knowledge-led socio-economic growth and put Information, Communication Technology skills for self-sufficiency,” President Mahama added.
On employment, President Mahama said apart from the absorption of about 10,000 youth at the Centre, the Government was also reviving some of the Kwame Nkrumah-led factories to provide more job opportunities.
He said a new Tiles Company, which had the capacity to provide 600 jobs would soon be inaugurated in the Western Region.
"Government is also providing direct support to the private sector, especially in the agricultural and pharmaceutical centres, to expand and create job opportunities for the youth."
President Mahama paid a glowing tribute to late Dr Edward Salia, a former Minister of the then Transport and Communications, who initiated the reforms in the telecommunication sector for blazing the trail in that direction.
Mr Henry Geoffrey Kerali, the Country Director of World Bank, expressed their pride in associating with the project, which he said, would contribute towards efficiency in e-governance and create jobs for all.
He said the impact of the centre would go beyond Accra and contribute about 25 per cent of Ghana's Gross Domestic Product in the coming years.
Mr William Tevie, the Director General of the National Communication Authority, who read a speech on behalf of the Head of Rockefeller Foundation, said the completion of the project was in line with the Foundation's vision to create a number of jobs through ICT among others.
By George-Ramsey Benamba, GNA
Credit -GNA NEWS