Government has initiated the establishment of an innovation centre that would promote export-oriented Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products and services industry, as well as generate employment.
The ICT Park to be built in Tema is one of several initiatives being implemented by government under an enabling environment for the take-off of a knowledge-based economy.
The project is collaboration between the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), and Ministries of Trade and Industry and Communication.
It seeks to stimulate the private sector to invest in provision of technology parks and other ICT infrastructure that provide the fuel for the building of wealth and job opportunities.
At a stakeholders’ workshop on the proposed draft drawings and designs of the ICT Parks master-plan in Accra, Communications Minister, Mr Haruna Idrissu, said ICT parks worldwide played a critical role as intermediaries that supported knowledge-based economies.
They also nurtured innovation and market-focused technological development, he said, citing the Smart Village in Egypt, Innovation hub in South Africa, Software Technology in India and Technology Park in Malaysia.
The workshop is expected to facilitate consensus-building on the way forward in the development of the technology park to promote ICT research and development.
The ICT industry, Mr Iddrisu said, had been identified as one of the sectors that could enhance economic growth by creating opportunities of employment to absorb the abundant talent pool and generate new and thriving entrepreneurship.
“It is in pursuit of this that the ministry has established the IT Enabled services (ITES) Secretariats under the eGhana project tasked to create a vibrant private sector,” he said adding that it was expected to create more than the proposed 7,300 jobs.
Mr Iddrisu said the 10-billion-dollar project would be a legacy for the country, and charged Ghanaian experts to put the draft to strict scrutiny and start as soon as possible procurement procedures.
According to him, Ghana had the potential to emerge as a major ICT hub in the West African Sub-region and called for a more mature technology industry.
The Minister said that one of the best ways to achieve this was to grow and enhance technology skills and knowledge in the country.
Mr Iddrisu said government was also seeking funding for a proposed ICT park in Cape Coast in the Central Region, which would be replicated in other Regions to enhance industrial growth.
In his presentation on the project, Mr Caimin Jones of Garland Ormond International Consultants, said Phase One of the project would be the construction of three advance units with each unit having 2,000 square metres administration and training unit, and a common services unit, while Phase Two would constitute an ICT Park Management Team to facilitate the provision of land for development, rent and lease of space for entities.
The benefits of the park include technology development and diffusion, stimulation of the formation of new technology-based firms and the growth of existing technology-based firms and facilitating the growth of SMEs
He added that it would also spin off firms started by academics thereby helping commercialized academic researches and strengthen university association with the park.