The Rockefeller Foundation has given the Ghanian government a $3.8 million grant to help it launch world class facilities that will attract IT and IT enabled firms, including Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms to the country in a move expected to attract ICT jobs for Ghanaian youth.
The Ghanaian government has been working with World Bank under the eGhana Project, part of the $100 million Foundation’s Digital Jobs Africa initiative launched in 2013 to improve 1 million lives through ICT skills and jobs for the youth.
After the foundation realized that real estate was the barrier to the implementation of the project, it has given the two the grant to set up a new mini ICT Park in Accra by August this year for direct and indirect employment to over 10,000 people, primarily youth, who have few alternative job opportunities. The ICT park is expected to move Ghana up the ranking among the Tier 2 countries, and attract IT and IT enabled services (ITES) sector which is deemed most likely to absorb large numbers of unemployed and disadvantaged youth.
“As the Rockefeller Foundation enters its second year of our $100m Digital Jobs Africa initiative, we applaud the commitment of the Ghanaian government for steering the hiring at this new state of the art ICT Park towards poor and vulnerable youth – which will help to achieve our ultimate goal of impacting the lives of 1 million people through digital jobs for disadvantaged youth. This project will transform the landscape of Ghana’s IT /ITES sector while ensuring that disadvantaged youth are the ultimate beneficiaries. When young people are empowered economically, the entire nation will benefit,” said Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office.
The Digital Jobs Africa initiative is being implemented in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and Morocco.
The grant follows on from the Foundation’s 2012 support to the Ghana ITES Secretariat, a World Bank seeded implementing agency under the Ministry of Communication, to train and employ 150 youth to digitize government records. In September 2013, the World Bank approved the $97 million eTransform project which builds on the earlier eGhana project. Both projects seek to use ICT to improve the reach and efficiency of private and public service delivery and create jobs. The ICT Park is an important piece of the World Bank’s support of Ghana’s ICT strategy.
The Rockefeller Foundation support of the mini ICT Park leverages the World Bank funding and is designed to catalyze additional funding to support Ghana’s potential to employ disadvantaged youth in the digital economy.
Dr. Edward K. Omane Boamah, Ghana’s Minister of Communications commented, “We were pleased that the Rockefeller Foundation shared our vision around Ghana’s ICT potential. Not only can we transform the ICT sector, making Ghana internationally competitive, we can provide opportunities for hundreds of disadvantaged young people who have the skills and drive to work in the digital economy, but are only lacking the access and opportunity.”