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Designing ICT Policy for Development in Ghana: Balancing Local and Global Objectives
Unformatted Document Text:  ICT policy 22 areas. GT, the largest national telephone operator (with 70% shares held by the state), has a lot to lose in the liberalizing economy and has used its monopoly power to frustrate upcoming rivals, for example, by limiting connections with its network (Zachary, 2003). The company declared a loss of 120 billion cedis in 2001, which it attributed to “illegal bypassing of the company’s international gateway by other operators in the telecommunications industry” (Okine, 2003). Dissatisfaction with the GT strategic shareholder, GCom Malaysia, by the newly elected government led to a rather acrimonious parting of ways. A Norwegian company, Telenor, recently bought the strategic shares amidst some controversy over possible impropriety in the negotiation process, similar, in fact, to the unease that accompanied the entry of GCom Malaysia (Quansah, 2002). In 2001, the government seized $5m of equipment belonging to one of the foremost cellular operators in the country, Swedish-affiliated Mobitel, and was engaged in a one-year standoff with the company. The reason for trying to prevent Mobitel from installing its new equipment was that the government was uncomfortable with the advanced communication capabilities offered by the new technology. Thus, “what seemed like an excellent example of the power of leapfrog … was frustrated by government opposition” (Zachary, 2003, p.150). Such sensitivities may make the country less attractive to the ICT investors the country hopes to woo, in addition to the fact that the lack of the most advanced systems may also put off others who may wish to do business in the country. For example, an American information-processing company set up in Ghana in 2000 has had to build its own satellite link for direct communication with the US, and this was only achieved after gaining the personal support of the Minister of Communications. Despite successful operations so far, the company has no plans for immediate expansion in Ghana, and is considering more favorable labor and infrastructure locations in India and China (Zachary, 2003). It also appears that since the Framework was produced, the policy development process has not proceeded as expected. According to Ismail (2002), the Ministry of Communication and Technology is not involved in the process; there is no coordination between the ministry and the National ICT Committee, which is attached to the President’s office. It has also been suggested that in any case, the

Authors: Sey, Araba.
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ICT policy 22
areas. GT, the largest national telephone operator (with 70% shares held by the state), has a lot to lose in
the liberalizing economy and has used its monopoly power to frustrate upcoming rivals, for example, by
limiting connections with its network (Zachary, 2003). The company declared a loss of 120 billion cedis
in 2001, which it attributed to “illegal bypassing of the company’s international gateway by other
operators in the telecommunications industry” (Okine, 2003). Dissatisfaction with the GT strategic
shareholder, GCom Malaysia, by the newly elected government led to a rather acrimonious parting of
ways. A Norwegian company, Telenor, recently bought the strategic shares amidst some controversy over
possible impropriety in the negotiation process, similar, in fact, to the unease that accompanied the entry
of GCom Malaysia (Quansah, 2002).
In 2001, the government seized $5m of equipment belonging to one of the foremost cellular
operators in the country, Swedish-affiliated Mobitel, and was engaged in a one-year standoff with the
company. The reason for trying to prevent Mobitel from installing its new equipment was that the
government was uncomfortable with the advanced communication capabilities offered by the new
technology. Thus, “what seemed like an excellent example of the power of leapfrog … was frustrated by
government opposition” (Zachary, 2003, p.150). Such sensitivities may make the country less attractive to
the ICT investors the country hopes to woo, in addition to the fact that the lack of the most advanced
systems may also put off others who may wish to do business in the country. For example, an American
information-processing company set up in Ghana in 2000 has had to build its own satellite link for direct
communication with the US, and this was only achieved after gaining the personal support of the Minister
of Communications. Despite successful operations so far, the company has no plans for immediate
expansion in Ghana, and is considering more favorable labor and infrastructure locations in India and
China (Zachary, 2003).
It also appears that since the Framework was produced, the policy development process has not
proceeded as expected. According to Ismail (2002), the Ministry of Communication and Technology is
not involved in the process; there is no coordination between the ministry and the National ICT
Committee, which is attached to the President’s office. It has also been suggested that in any case, the


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