Internet Revolution in Ghana

Theodore Kwaku Viwotor

Accra, Ghana - Sept 2007

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Since its inception in Ghana in the early 90’s the internet has become one of the most reliable means of communication and conducting research.

It is more or less outmoded to have an office in Ghana, especially in Accra the capital city, without a link to the internet. Mobile phones are perhaps the only Information Communication Technology (ICT) that leads the internet as a means of communication in Ghana.

The city of Accra has fast grown to become a hub of what is known as ‘Internet Cafés’. These are places where both young and old converge to either communicate or undertake research.

Internet fever is spreading at a fast rate as more and more Ghanaians become dependent on the net as a central means of communication. Children as young as five can be found in cafés browsing the internet.

As late as midnight people can be observed on computers doing one thing or another. Since many people do not have the facility at home they pay to use the services at internet cafes as the main means of access, at times there are queues of people waiting to take their turn on the computer.

Internet usage in the country is marred by a few associated problems. A minority of unscrupulous people are using it for fraudulent and illicit activities. However, due to the timely intervention of the police there have been some significant arrests over the years.

Via the internet students in tertiary institutions now have an easier way of searching for information for their theses or project work, thus there is a divergence from the former monopolized system of visiting the library to obtain information for their work.

“The internet is facilitating my project work through easy access to information from numerous sites. I wonder how I would have done this work without such a facility,” remarked Comfort Biney, past student of the Africa Institute of Journalism and Communications (AIJC).

The internet has opened up many opportunities to people. Another former student of the same institute, Wilma Sowah is preparing to start her Masters programme in Public Relations with an institution in the UK She linked up with it through the internet.

The youth seem to be the greatest beneficiaries of this revolution; they seem to have a higher internet literacy rate than the elderly. In many parts of the world the internet has added a further dimension to how business can be transacted, Ghana is no exception, and business people here are just as keen to utilize it.

Indeed, the internet has revolutionised communication in the country. Visibility of state institutions has been enhanced through official web sites. It is now far easier to access statutory information than ever before.

The internet shall continue to be a key component of communication in Ghana and more so when the few challenges such as internet illiteracy, fraud and viewing of illicit materials are better addressed.