Ghana’s Ministry of Communications (MoC), the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and the Export-Import Bank of China officially signed a financing agreement on 29 September under which Huawei Technologies Ghana will deploy more than 2,000 Rural Star sites in rural areas of the country. The network project, which is scheduled for completion by September 2021, is expected to provide voice and data services to over 3.4 million people in underserved and unserved communities, thereby extending national mobile coverage from 83% to 95%.
The initiative is being led by the MoC through GIFEC, a government agency mandated to facilitate the provision of universal access to basic telephony, and will be leased to mobile network operators (MNOs) which will be responsible for market expansion and user development after its completion. Whereas traditional rural network infrastructure employs microwave or satellite transmission, towers and diesel generators, Huawei’s Rural Star solution uses Relay Remote Node (RRN) wireless backhaul, simple poles and solar energy, reducing the cost by more than 50%.
Mr Abraham Kofi Asante, the Administrator of GIFEC, noted the agency has already deployed 400 Rural Star sites in over 2,000 rural communities through the Rural Telephony Project, providing mobile network coverage to more than 1.2 million people. ‘Partnering with Huawei on this project, therefore, will ensure that all persons in Ghana are part of government’s digitisation agenda, and improve the socio-economic wellbeing of people living in Rural Ghana,’ he added.
Commenting on the project, Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said: ‘ICT development plays a vital role in revitalising the national economy, especially in promoting rural economic development. Accelerating the improvement of rural communications facilities is one of our important agenda. We selected Huawei as a partner in this rural network project as we have seen Huawei’s unremitting efforts in bridging the digital divide.’