The GSMA has announced a new partnership with Vodafone Ghana and the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) to support the deployment of innovative mobile internet connectivity solutions for unconnected rural communities. As part of the Connected Society Innovation Fund for Rural Connectivity, the project will run for 18 months from July 2019 to late 2020 and provide funding for mobile network equipment vendors to deploy their solutions to support mobile operator efforts in Ghana. Vodafone Ghana will test and deploy these innovations on its networks, while GIFEC will provide land and enable tax and duty exemptions of up to 30% for imported equipment in order to encourage reinvestment and enhance coverage extension.
The project focuses on specific rural areas that currently lack connectivity but have economic potential. Two vendors and their partners were selected and are expected to be awarded up to GBP330,000 (USD409,815) each for implementing turnkey solutions to suit challenging rural environments with low population density, difficult terrain or limited infrastructure.
‘This collaboration is a pioneering, first-of-its-kind project that aims to connect unconnected communities in rural locations and deliver a range of essential digital services,’ commented Akinwale Goodluck, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA.