Minister of Communications and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful walked away with the most distinguished award this year at the Ghana Information Technology and Telecom Awards (GITTA) for her towering leadership role in the digital Ghana agenda.
She was adjudged the Digital Leader of the Year, an award which was won by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia last year for how he has been at the head of Ghana’s digital transformation journey.
As sector minister, Ursula has been working very closely with the Vice President to deliver all the solid infrastructure and innovation that now constitute the key components of the digital transformation journey.
Together with the Vice President and their respective expert lieutenants, they have delivered on major infrastructure like the Ghana Card, digital address system, Common Monitoring Platform, paperless port, ICUM, Ghana.gov, National Dashboard for fraud monitoring, Digitalized Property Rate and Land administration, digitalized medical supplies delivery, Mobile Money Interoperability, GHQR and many others, which are defining the country’s digital journey.
Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has also been at the head of initiatives such as the rural telephony and digital inclusion project targeted at connecting unserved and underserved communities in the country to digitally include at least some four million rural dwellers with affordable internet connectivity.
According to her, that project is being done through the innovative Rural Star UMTS 900 technology, which “I am proud to state that, was developed and implemented for the first time in Ghana due to pressure from me for an inexpensive robust system that provides data and voice services to underserved communities and is now being used globally.”
She said the project provides up to 70% cost reduction in operations and maintenance of the RT infrastructure, adding some 2,016 sites have been earmarked to be completed by the end of 2022, out of which 500 are already active and improving the socio-economic lives of over 2,000,000 Ghanaians in rural communities across the country.
Girls in ICT
The Minister is also known to have taken a very dedicated personal interest empowering girls with ICT, which saw the training of 584 in ICT during the peak of Covid-19 pandemic.
The aim, according to Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, is to bridge the wide gap between males and females in ICT, as a 2017 UNESCO report states that only 35% of world students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are female, and the data on girls offering ICT in particular is only 3 per cent.
“Our determination to develop the skills of young girls has led to the expansion of our commemoration of the International Telecommunications Union’s annual Girls in ICT Celebrations to encourage and empower girls and young women, to consider studies and careers in the growing field of ICTs. During this period, selected girls are given basic computer literacy, coding/programming skills to help demystify the notion of ICT as a highly technical field reserved for brilliant and exceptional students. We have also included mentorship and an open day for the best 100 girls,” she said.
The Minister noted that some additional 1,000 girls in the Western North Region of Ghana have also been given ICT training and the gesture will be extended to the North East Region soon, thanks to the GHC10 million support they received from MTN.
Again, under her watch, Ghana is rolling out the World Bank-funded designed to improve the allocation of public resources, boost the efficiency and broaden the coverage of priority government services, and nurture entrepreneurship and job creation through ICT.
According to her, the intended beneficiaries of the scheme include the government, through more efficient and cost-effective delivery of services and administration; the business sector, via lower transaction costs and greater accessibility to government; and individuals, particularly women and the young, through improved public services.
She noted that as government drives the adoption and use of digital technologies across the country, it is also aware of the opportunity it creates for cyber attacks, so the Ministry is putting measures in place to ensure that the digital interventions rolled out as part of the Digital Ghana Agenda are secured from cyber-attacks.
Under her watch, the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038) has been passed to affirm government’s commitment to protection of the country’s digital infrastructure, applications and services, plus protection for all infrastructure designated as Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) across both the public and private sectors.
The CIIs are across 13 sector and they include National Security and Intelligence, ICT, Banking and Finance, Energy, Water, Transportation, Health, Emergency Services, Government, Food and Agriculture, Manufacturing, Mining and Education, plus some private sector institutions who have been notified as such.
Those were just a few of the many initiatives Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has led as sector Minister, for which she was adjudged Digital Leader of the Year at the GITTAs this year.
Meanwhile there were 59 other awardees, comprising of companies and industry captains who continue to make immense contribution to the country’s digital transformation agenda.
Below is the full list of awardees at this year’s GITTA.
|Cyber Security Consulting Company of the Year||Cyberteq Falcon|
|Emerging ICT Company of the Year||Technology Advantage Group|
|Mobile Data Service Provider of the Year||MTN|
|Enterprise Solutions Provider of the Year||Comsys|
|Cyber Forensic Technology Solutions Provider of the Year||e-Crime Bureau|
|Wholesale Infrastructure provider of the Year||CSquared|
|Unified Communications Provider of the Year||Vodafone|
|Wireless Infrastructure Provider of the Year||ATC|
|Customer Experience of the Year||MTN|
|Promoting Public Sector Digital Inclusion||Ascend Digital Solutions|
|Payments System Innovation of the Year||GhQR By GhIPSS|
|Best Use of ICT in Driving Efficiency||Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority ( DVLA)|
|Metro Fibre Infrastructure Company of the Year||Comsys|
|Excellence in ICT for Sustainable Development||GIFEC|
|Telecom Support Company of the Year||ATC|
|Innovative Card Product of The Year||Eazypay Gh Dual Card By Zenith Bank|
|Fintech Company of the Year||Zeepay|
|Mobile Money Leadership Award||MTN Momo|
|Smartphone Brand of the Year||TECNO|
|Internet Service Provider of the Year||Comsys|
|Business Transformation Company of the Year||Cloudware|
|Telecom Business Service Provider of the Year||Vodafone|
|Digital Bank of the Year||Standard Chartered|
|Best ATM and Kiosk Implementation Award||Absa|
|Innovative Product of the Year||Vodafone Cash|
|Excellence in Cyber Security Initiatives||Cyber Security Authority|
|Mobile Banking App of the year||Standard Chartered|
|Excellence in Social Investment||MTN|
|Phone Distributor of the Year||Mobile Zone|
|Best Bank for Financial Inclusion||Zenith Bank Ghana|
|Innovative e-payment solutions Provider of the Year||Accelerex Ghana|
|ICT Manage Services Company of the Year||Liranz|
|Innovative Data Centre Provider of the Year||Africa Datacentre (ADC)|
|Africa Infrastructure Company of the Year||IHS|
|Excellence in Driving Digital Transformation||HUAWEI|
|Digital Transformation Provider of the Year||Reliance Infosystem|
|Network Operations Team of the Year||MTN Network Team|
|Digital Transformation Team of the Year||Vodafone|
|Customer Service Team of the Year||MTN Customer Service Team|
|Telecom Tower Hall all of Fame||ATC|
|Bespoke Data Product of the Year ( Sika Kokoo Data)||AirtelTigo|
|Outstanding Contribution to ICT Reporting||Samuel Dowuona, Editor, Tech24gh|
|Most Promising Customer Services Professional of the Year||Salihu Abu, Senior Manager, Customer Relations & Credit Management, MTN|
|Most Promising Technology Professional of the Year||Joseph Lamptey, Technology – Service Delivery, Vodafone|
|Most Promising Customer Services Professional of the Year||Lawrence Akosen, Senior Manager, Customer Experience, Planning & Enablement|
|Outstanding Contribution to the Mobile Phone Industry||Maxwell Techie, CEO, MobileZone|
|Datacenter CEO of the Year||Stephane Duproz, CEO of Africa Data Centers|
|Outstanding Contribution to the Data Center Industry||Engr Ike Nnamani, Founder/CEO Medallion|
|Datacenter CTO of the Year||Krish Ranganath, CTO, Africa Datacentre|
|FinTech Person of the Year||Ali Hussein, Co-Founder & CEO – Kipochi|
|IT Professional of Year||Ebo Richardson, Chief Enablement and Information Officer, Absa Ghana|
|Fintech CEO of the Year||Andrew Takyi-Appiah, CEO, Zeepay|
|Telecom CTO of the Year||Thomas Motlepa, CTO, MTN Ghana|
|Women in Technology Award||Estelle Akofio-Sowah, West Africa Regional Manager, CSquared|
|Payment Industry Personality of the Year||Archie Hesse, CEO,|
Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS)
|Industry Personality of the Year||Patricia Obo-Nai, CEO, Vodafone Ghana|
|Public Sector IT Leadership Award:||Kwasi Agyemang Busia, CEO, DVLA|
|Technology Person of the Year||Dr. Tomisin Fashina|
Group Executive – Operations & Technology, Ecobank
Managing Director of Ecobank Eprocess International
|CEO of the Year||Selorm Adadevoh, CEO, MTN Ghana|
|Digital Leader of the Year||Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful|
Minister of Communications & Digitization