Multi-million dollar grant aims to establish world class tech facilities in Ghana.
The Rockefeller Foundation has announced a $3.8m grant to the Ghanaian government in partnership with the World Bank to support the establishment of world class facilities that will attract IT and IT enabled firms, including Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms to Ghana and create jobs for Ghanaian youth.
The grant complements the World Bank’s US$5 million provided under the eGhana Project and is part of the Foundation’s Digital Jobs Africa initiative launched in 2013 – a $100m initiative aimed at improving 1 million lives through ICT skills and jobs for high potential but disadvantaged youth, a press release said.
The new grant will enable completion by August of a mini ICT Park in central Accra and will potentially provide direct and indirect employment to over 10,000 people, primarily youth, who have few alternative job opportunities.
Recent research funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and issued by the Dalberg Institute, a strategic advisory firm, identifies access to real estate as the primary barrier to expanding the BPO sector in Ghana. “This grant will help address that constraint directly by providing the funds for the Ghanaian government to create a world class facility,” the Foundation says.
“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 Rockefeller Foundation and World Bank support are designed to catalyze additional funding. The Foundation’s Digital Jobs Africa initiative is being implemented in six countries in Africa – Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and Morocco.
In September 2013, the World Bank approved the $97m 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.
Dr. Edward K. Omane Boamah, Ghana’s Minister of Communications commented: “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.”