Ghana and three other African countries have been named as the most progressive in ICT adoption.
According to a new report, Measuring the Information Society 2012, the UN agency noted that Ghana, Rwanda and Kenya have increased efforts to bridge the “digital divide”.
The report said the three African countries were identified to have made the most progress in adopting information and communications technology.
The ITU report which is the most comprehensive statistical and analytical document on the shape of ICT markets worldwide, said 14 per cent of Ghanaians were internet users, up from 10 per cent in 2010.
Ghana’s telecommunications sector had the highest investment to revenue ratio in Africa in 2009 and 2010, which shows that operators invested relatively heavily in fixed assets in order to maintain and enhance networks.
The country’s mobile broadband prices are also relatively low. At 14 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) per person, it is four and half times cheaper than the African average which stands at 64 per cent of GNI per person.
The report said the overall cost of ICT services was down by 30 per cent.
Although fixed broadband internet services showed the biggest decline in average prices, by 75 per cent, mobile broadband continued to display the sharpest growth.
“Over the past year, mobile broadband grew 40 per cent worldwide and 8 per cent in developing countries,” the report noted.
“Despite the surge in mobile broadband subscriptions,” said Brahima Sanou director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, “prices still remain too high in low income countries”.
“For mobile broadband to replicate the mobile-cellular miracle and bring more people from developing countries online, 3G network coverage has to be extended and prices have to go down even further,” he said.
The report also include an ICT Development Index (IDI) which combines 11 indicators into a single measure that can be used as a benchmarking tool to track progress in ICT development over time.
The indicators include ICT access, use, skills, mobile cellular subscriptions and basic literacy rates, households with a computer, internet users, fixed and mobile broadband internet subscriptions and basic literacy rates.
Nevertheless, Ghana remains in the lower half of the index at 117th out of 155 countries. This is an improvement by four places from 2010. No other African country recorded such an improvement for internet access as well as usage.
Meanwhile, Rwanda continued to enjoy its standing as number one in East Africa, as ranked by the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
In 2012, it took seventh place among all African countries with active mobile-broadband subscriptions.
Rwanda’s policy is to increase connectivity in rural areas and make it affordable to the masses.
A government-run portal, the Rwanda Development Gateway, said that the country is “determined to take full advantage of the digital revolution” to grow the country’s economy.