The financing agreement for the rural network project between the Ministry of Communications, Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and the Export-Import Bank of China has been officially signed.

Huawei will deploy 2000+ Rural Star sites for Ghana, which will provide voice and data services for over 3.4 million people in underserved and unserved communities to extend the national mobile communication coverage from 83% to 95%.

This will greatly accelerate local economic development whiles improving people’s livelihoods. The project is to be completed by September 2021.

Although mobile communication in Ghana has seen rapid development in recent years, the development of rural telecommunications is still relatively lagging behind.

The lack of rural communication network infrastructure greatly restricts the development of the rural economy, a result of which the Government of Ghana has taken a number of positive steps to promote rural telephony services and digital inclusion in rural and marginalized communications.

This novel initiative is led by Government of Ghana Ministry of Communication through GIFEC and will be leased to domestic carriers (Mobile Network Operators) who will be responsible for market expansion and user development after its completion.

Huawei has been committed to bringing the digital world to every person and family. It continuously facilitates rural network solutions.

Since 2017, Huawei has launched three innovative solutions focused on achieving optimal cost of network construction and operation for different rural scenarios which include the Rural Star, Rural Star Lite, and Rural Star Pro solutions.

In this particular project, the Rural Start solution locally brewed through the collaborative effort of Ghana will be used.

This indigenous rural star solution transforms microwave or satellite in traditional rural network solution into wireless relay, towers into simple poles, and diesel generators into clean and green solar energy.

Compared with the traditional rural network solutions, the rural star reduces cost by more than 50%.

Currently, Rural Star has been commercially used in more than 110 countries around the world, serving a population of over 40 million.

GIFEC, through the Rural Telephony Project, has deployed 400 rural star sites to over 2000 rural communities, providing mobile network coverages to over 1,200,000 people in Ghana.

According to the Administrator of GIFEC, Abraham Kofi Asante, “The project was implemented through a Tripartite Cooperation Model with the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) and Huawei as the technical solution provider. This effective partnership has resulted in considerable cost savings and wider expansion in rural connectivity.

“Partnering with Huawei on this project, therefore, will ensure that all persons in Ghana are part of Government’s digitization agenda, and improve the socio-economic wellbeing of people living in rural Ghana. These beneficiaries will be able to communicate effectively with family, friends, and transact business with people all over the world”. He added.

Commenting on the project, Minister for Communications of Ghana, Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, said: “ICT development plays a vital role in revitalizing the national economy, especially in promoting rural economic development.

Accelerating the improvement of rural communications facilities is one of our important agenda. We selected Huawei as a partner in this rural network project as we have seen Huawei’s unremitting efforts in bridging in the digital divide. We hope that the project can be completed as soon as possible so that people in more remote areas can enjoy the benefits of mobile broadband.”

GIFEC is the Universal Access Fund agency of the Ministry of Communications of Ghana, mandated to provide universal access to all personal through the use of affordable ICTs for socio-economic development.