GIFEC partners Vodafone to connect remote communities

Accra The Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and the Global System Mobile Association (GSMA) has entered into partnership to support the deployment of innovative mobile internet connectivity solutions for unconnected rural communities.

GIFEC and GSMA are working in collaboration with Vodafone Ghana as part of the Connected Society Innovation Fund for Rural Connectivity, project from July 2019 to late 2020.

A statement issued by GIFEC Corporate Affairs Department and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Monday, said GSMA would fund mobile network equipment vendors to deploy their innovative solutions to support mobile operator efforts.

Vodafone Ghana would also be testing and deploying these innovations on their networks whilst GIFEC would provide land for site coverage.

GIFEC will also enable tax and duty exemptions of up to 30 per cent for imported equipment to encourage reinvestment and enhance coverage extensions, it added.

According to the statement which quoted Mr Akinwale Goodluck, GSMA Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, explained that, the collaboration was a pioneering, first-of-its-kind project that aimed to connect unconnected communities in rural locations and deliver a range of essential digital services.

The statement said two vendors and their partners have been selected for up to Pound 330,000 award each for implementing turnkey solutions to suit challenging rural environments with low population density, difficult terrain or limited infrastructure.

Each project was judged on its ability to provide solutions that are innovative, scalable and commercially sustainable.

It said once the sites were fully commissioned, they would be integrated into Vodafone’s network as the project’s primary partner.

Despite the rapid growth in mobile communication, commercially viable business models are still lacking in many remote, low income and rural communities, the statement said.

It said the challenge in reaching the unconnected in this part of the world rests crucially on affordability, literacy, relevant service as well as appropriate technology.

Quoting Mr Abraham Kofi Asante, Chief Executive Officer, GIFEC, the statement said that the universal connectivity required smart public interventions as market forces were not sufficient.

As we explore this partnership to deliver connectivity for communities in the Northern and Upper West Regions of Ghana, the last mile of connecting the unconnected will be achieved to create avenues for digital inclusiveness, he added.

The statement also quoted Mr Gayheart Mensah, External Affairs Director, Vodafone Ghana who said: Connectivity for all remains an integral part of the way we operate as a business.

According to the statement Vodafone was excited to be partnering the GSMA and GIFEC to roll out the initiative and it was certainly an area of industry leadership that it was extremely proud of.

The project focuses on specific rural areas that currently lack connectivity but have economic potential and the selection was conducted with analysis from the GSMA using its coverage mapping tool.

Source: Ghana News Agency