TELECOMMUNICATIONS IN GHANA

1 Francis K. A. Allotey and Felix K. Akorli

1.0 INTRODUCTION

The Republic of Ghana is a West African nation on the Gulf of Guinea with an area of about 92,000 square miles and a population of about 16 million (1995). Its topography consists of forest and savannah, and the country is divided into ten regions, with the national capital located at Accra. Ghana s six largest ethnic groups are the Akans (44 % of the population), Ewe (13 %), Ga-Adangbe (8 %), Mole Dagbane (16 %), Guans (4 %), and Grume (3 %), and the official language is English. The Volta is Ghana s la rgest river and the location of the Volta Lake on which are built two hydro dams, Akosombo and Kpong, with a total capacity of about 1.12 gigawatts.

Ghana s main export products are cocoa, gold, and timber; other exports include diamond, bauxite, and manganese. The fluctuation of world market prices and the absence of processing industries for these products have historically affected Ghana s revenue s. Ghana imports oil for energy consumption, and exports hydroelectricity to Togo, Benin, and Burkina Faso.

In 1987, Ghana s per capita gross national product (GNP) was $390. The World Bank s estimate of Ghana's GNP in 1991 was about $440 per capita. Since 1984, Ghana has been implementing an Economic Recovery Program, which gives the country easier access to International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank loans. In 1988, Ghana s exports, which amounted to $1.014 billion, exceeded imports ($907 million) by over $4 million.

Since 1981, Ghana has been a unitary republic ruled by decree. In November 1992, however, an election was held to elect a president for the next democratically elected parliamentary government. In January 1993, following parliamentary elections, Ghana re turned to a parliamentary form of government.

2.0 HISTORY

2.1 The Precolonial Era

The first telegraph line in Ghana (then known as the Gold Coast) was a ten mile link installed in 1881 between the castle of the colony s then governor in Cape Coast and Elimina. The line was then extended to Christianborg Castle near Accra, which became the seat of government, and later extended still further to Aburi, 26 miles outside Accra.

In 1882, the first public telegraph line, stretching over a distance of 2.5 miles, was erected between Christianborg and Accra. Between 1887 and 1889, these telegraph lines were extended to cover Accra, Prampram, Winneba, Saltpond, Sekondi, Ankobra, Dixc ove, and Shama--all colonial castles or fort towns as well as commercial ports and fishing centers. In 1886, telegraph lines were extended to the middle and northern parts of Ghana into the territory of the Ashantis. Between 1900 and 1901, this new commun ications technology was used to subdue the Ashantis in the Yaa Asantewa war.

Because Ghana s telegraph lines were often cut down by superstitious locals convinced that the cables were "magic" lines being used by the Europeans to win wars. Ghana s colonial governor entrusted the safety and security of the lines to the tr ibal chiefs in 1886. The colonial governors offered chiefs handsome rewards for reporting any damage done to the lines.

In order to improve communications in the southern part of the country, the first manual telephone exchange (70 lines) was installed in Accra in 1892. Twelve years later, in 1904, a second manual exchange consisting of 13 lines was installed in Ca%w Coas t.

2.2 Under English Colonial Rule

Ghana s telecommunications infrastructure was laid down and expanded by the colonial administration mainly to facilitate the economic, social, and political administration of the colony. In 1901, for example, the Ashantis were brought under British colon ial rule, and telegraph lines were accordingly extended from Accra to the capital of the Ashanti Kingdom and beyond. By the end of 1912, 1,492 miles of telegraph lines had been constructed to link forty-eight telegraph offices spread throughout the countr y.

Before the beginning of World War I in 1914, 170 telephone subscribers had been served in Ghana, but it was between World War I and 1920 that the backbone of the main trunk telephone routes--Accra-Takoradi, Accra-Kumasi, Kumasi-Takoradi, and Kumasi-Tamal e--was built using unshielded copper wires. By 1930, the number of telephone exchange lines in Ghana had grown to 1,560, linking the coastal region with the central and northern parts of the country.

Due to the depressed global economy of the 1940s, there was little or no growth in telecommunications in Ghana during and immediately after the Second World War. Nevertheless, during that period 1 + 1 carrier equipment was installed on the Accra-Takoradi , Accra-Kumasi, Kumasi-Takoradi, and Kumasi-Tamale physical trunks. These were later augmented with 1 + 3 carrier equipment, thus increasing the trunks connecting these towns threefold.

In 1953, the first automatic telephone exchange with 200 lines was installed in Accra to replace the manual one erected 63 years earlier. Three years later, in 1956, the trunk lines connecting Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi, and Tamale were upgraded through the installation of a 48- and 12-channel VHF network.

2.3 The Postcolonial Period

The attainment of independence by Ghana in 1957 brought new dynamism to the country's telecommunications development. A seven-year development plan launched just after independence hastened the completion of a second new automatic exchange in Accra in 19 57. By the end of 1963, over 16,000 telephone subscribers and 32,000 rotary-type telephones were in use in Ghana.

Due to the rapid growth in commercial activities in mining, timber, cocoa, shear butter, and the like in outlying parts of the country, new manual exchanges were installed at Cantoments, Accra, Swedru, Koforidua, Ho, Tamale, Sunyani, and Kumasi during th e post-independence years. The installed exchanges were Strowger (step-by-step) and Philip UR 49 switch exchanges.

The management of Ghana s telecommunication institutions was initially assigned to the Public Works Department but was transferred to the post office following the enactment of the Post Office Ordinance in 1886. Telecommunications was later administered by the government's Post and Telecommunications Department until the early 1970s.

3.0 THE PRESENT ERA

3.1 The Post and Telecommunication Corporation

A new chapter in the development of Ghana's telecommunications system began in November 1974, when the Post and Telecommunication Department was declared a public corporation by National Redemption Council Decree No. 311. The department was placed under the authority of the Ministry of Transport and Communication, which is still responsible today for policy formulation and the control of Ghana s telecommunications sector.

Under the instrument of incorporation, the Post and Telecommunication Corporation (P & T) was to be administered by a board of directors who function as the corporation s governing body. There is a director general, who is the chief executive account able to the board of directors and responsible for the organization, maintenance, and development of all the corporation s services (domestic and international) as well as the determination of financial policies. The director general also ensures that gov ernment policies on telecommunication are implemented and that rules and regulations governing the various services as well as international conventions are correctly interpreted and acted upon. He is assisted by two deputies--the deputy director general for engineering and the deputy director general for posts.

3.2 Quality of Service

In the present era, Ghana s telecommunications system has been plagued by significant service quality problems. According to Missing Link (the 1984 report of the International Telecommunication Union's [ITU] Independent Commission for World Telecommunication), penetration of telephones in Ghana in 1992 was only 0.32 per one hundred inhabitants. Moreover, according to the published report o f Ghana s 1990-92 Public Investment Programmes, the quality of service--measured by call completion rate, time required to obtain dialing tone, number of faults per line per year, availability of the link, mean time between failures (MTBF), and signal-to- noise (S/N) ratio--on a number of microwave and UHF routes in many exchange areas of the country is below the acceptable international standards for Africa as defined by ITU.

3.2.1 Principal Causes of Low Quality of Service

Recent analyses of Ghana s low quality of telecommunications service identified the following factors as the principal contributory causes:

Extremely high exchange fill. Delays in the implementation of projects renders future service projections invalid after a project is completed. As a result, the estimated capacities of exchanges do not meet the needs of subscribers;

Unsatisfactory state of the external plant network (including underground cables and overhead line system). Ghana s underground cables are not only old but their manufacture, predominantly lead-sheathed and paper-insulated, makes them susceptible to acts of vandalism and also sensitive to moisture. Both Ghana s overhead systems and its underground cables are also susceptible to theft, with the metal contained in them highly prized by jewelry dealers. Moreover, the overhead systems are also often rendered inoperative by bush fires and violent storms and rains;

Rampant breakdown of a large proportion of power and air conditioning equipment. Such failures have rendered most of Ghana s nontropicalized telecommunications equipment unreliable;

Poor maintenance of service. Due to the very limited number of service vehicles and the unreliability of available vehicles, Ghana s telecommunications network has historically experienced delays in needed maintenance.

Another factor contributing to the low quality of Ghana s telecommunications service has been inadequate manpower resources. Most of Ghana s trained telecommunications manpower, for example, is attracted away from the public sector by private companies o ffering higher salaries and better working conditions. Other factors hampering the majority of Ghana s telecommunications links include interference from local broadcasting stations; signal fading, which occurs most often during "harmattan"--the months of Ghana s dry season (November to February); and crosstalk and signal noise.

3.3 Billing System

Ghana uses three levels of telephone billing, one for local calls, one for subscriber s trunk calls, and one for international calls. Local calls from automatic exchanges are charged at 20.00 per call, which is registered by meter. STD calls are 20 per u nit based on the distance of the relevant charging centers. Table 3 in the Appendix shows Ghana s STD call rates by distance. Charges for international calls depend on the placement of a particular country within on of the six bands. In 1992, a three-minu te call to band A countries--including Nigeria, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, and Togo--cost 2,260. Calls to countries in band B--including Benin, Gambia, Liberia, Mauritius, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Mali--were charged 3,060 for a three-minute call, an d calls to band C countries--the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany--cost 2,700.

The charges for Ghana s other three calling bands were as follows: band D (the Netherlands, France, and Italy), 3,420 for three minutes; band E (Canada, Australia, Kenya, Tanzania, and East European countries), 4,500 for three minutes; and band F (Afghan istan, Cape Verde, Greenland, and others), 6,360 for three minutes.

Telex messages are also billed through a zone system. A three-minute telex transmission to countries in Zone 1 (including Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Sweden, South Africa, and Poland) was charged 1,575 in 1992. To Zone 2 countries (including the United States, India, France, and Germany), a three-minute transmission was billed 1,635 and to Zone 3 countries (including Kenya, India, Egypt, Japan, and Australia), 2.073. A telex transmission from Ghana to a country in Zone 4 (such as China or Brazil) was charged 2 ,400 or more every three minutes. Three-minute telex transmissions to the United Kingdom and Burkina Faso, however, were charged at the separate rates of 990 and 978, respectively, in 1992.

3.4 Ghana Frequency Registration and Control Board (GFRCB)

3.4.1 Establishment and Function of GFRCB

Up until the late 1970s, the P & T was responsible for assigning and issuing radio frequencies to private, public, and government institutions for the operation of radio equipment. In 1977, however, the Ghana Frequency Registration and Control Board (GFRCB) was established by the Frequency Registration Decree of 1977, and these responsibilities were transferred to it. Membership to the GFRCB is made by Ghana s head of state with the advice of the National Security Council.

The functions of the GFRCB are as follows:

approve and issue licenses to commercial and amateur radio operators;

monitor the training of commercial and amateur radio operators; and

perform tasks that GFRCB deems to be incidental or conducive to the exercise of its function.

In order to approve and issue licenses for the sale, manufacture, and assembly of telecommunication equipment, a GFRCB 1984-92 Manpower Requirement Programme proposed to the government of Ghana that four interdepartmental technical committees be formed t o advise the GFRCB: a frequency assignment subcommittee to be supported by the military assignment group, aeronautical assignment group, and maritime assignment group; a science and technology analysis committee consisting of a technical analysis group, a spectrum management group, and an authorization and standards group; a spectrum planning subcommittee consisting of a spectrum planning branch, a frequency liaison branch, and a spectrum utilization branch; and an international notification group.

The GFRCB proposed that the membership of these committees be comprised of specialists drawn from the P & T, the Ministry of Defence, the Civil Aviation Authority, and the Maritime Assignment Group. Their duties were to respond to ITU questionnaires and other correspondence related to the notification and coordination of Ghana s frequency assignments. As of 1992, these interdepartmental advisory committees had yet to be formed.

3.4.2 Licensing of Telecommunication Apparatus and Stations

The GFRCB is responsible for performing the local registration and licensing of frequencies. Obtaining permits for the establishment, installation, and use of any telecommunication in Ghana is governed by the following decrees:

No one may establish, install, or use any station apparatus for telecommunication unless he or she has obtained a license issued by the GFRCB to do so;

No one may sell any telecommunications apparatus unless that person holds a valid dealer's license issued by the GFRCB;

No one may begin manufacturing or assembling telecommunications apparatus unless he or she has been registered by the GFRCB. Anyone who intends to begin manufacturing or assembling telecommunications apparatus must notify the GFRCB of the date on which h e or she intends to commence business and the name and address of the business;

Anyone found to contravene any of these provisions is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding twelve months, or both.

In order to enforce these decrees, the GFRCB undertook the following control measures:

Anyone who in the course of business deals in the sale of any manufacturing and assembling telecommunications apparatus must submit to the GFRCB a monthly return stating the number of telecommunications apparatuses sold, imported, manufactured, or assemb led by him or her during that month.

Any authorized dealer or manufacturer who fails or refuses to comply with these regulations or who gives false information in any return shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both.

Operations of Telecommunication Services

By law, individuals or establishments can only operate telecommunications services in Ghana after they have been issued a license by the GFRCD. The telecommunication services covered by this regulation include aeronautical mobile services for stations on land or aboard aircraft, amateur radio services, broadcasting services, citizen radio services, experimental radio service other than broadcasting, fixed radio services including telecommunications services for diplomatic missions, land mobile radio serv ices, and maritime mobile services for stations on land or aboard vessels twelve meters in length.

3.5 Manpower Training

3.5.1 Post and Telecommunication Engineering Training School

Programs for training manpower for the telecommunications industry in Ghana began as far back as 1948 - when the then Post and Telecommunication Department established the Telecommunication Engineering School. This school was charged with the responsibil ity of training linesmen and technicians to operate and maintain telecommunications equipment and plants. The school s principal and teaching staff were drawn from the British Post Office, and as it was the only school of its kind in Ghana at that time, i t catered to the needs of other institutions such as civil aviation, broadcasting, the police, and the military. In 1951, the first batch of twenty-one technical assistants with school certificate backgrounds were recruited to undergo a three-year trainin g course in telephony.

In 1974, when the Post and Telecommunication Department was declared a public corporation, the Telecommunication Engineering School was renamed the Post and Telecommunication Engineering Training School and recharged with the responsibility to train pers onnel to operate, modify, and maintain telecommunications equipment, with an emphasis on job training.

In the 1990s, Ghana s P & T embarked on a program to modernize and expand telecommunications services, including human as well as material resources. In order to execute this commitment successfully, the ITU was approached to:

propose and assist in the implementation of an organizational structure for the Post and Telecommunication Engineering Training School, including: handling all training functions; providing full documentation of its efforts; and promoting the awareness a nd importance of training within the P & T;

propose and assist in the implementation of appropriate training systems and procedures that apply ITU standard methodology to the management of training centers. The goal was the optimum utilization of training resources and the introduction of modern a dministrative and management tools--including both hardware and software where necessary;

train Ghana's telecommunications professionals in managing and updating the telecommunications training systems. As a result, P & T staff began to be sent for training to the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, France, Sweden, and the Netherlan ds, among other countries.

In addition to the P & T Engineering Training School, the department of electrical and electronic engineering of the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, also offers courses to students in telecommunications (see next section).

3.5.2 Involvement of the University of Science and Technology

The number of trained Ghanaian, high-caliber engineers produced by the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, and other countries cannot meet the manpower needs of the P & T. Because of the sophisticated technologies used in the telecommunications field, many complex engineering problems encountered in the field cannot be solved by P & T engineers alone. It thus became necessary to seek assistance from other institutions. In June 1992, a collaboration agreement was signed between Ghana's P &am p; T and the department of electrical and electronic engineering of the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

The objectives of the accord included:

involving the university s department of electrical and electronic engineering in the analysis of technical problems encountered by the P & T;

gaining the reciprocal assistance of the P & T in solving problems encountered at the university s department of electrical and electronic engineering (in the form of support for laboratory facilities, equipment, and research and development in the f ield of telecommunications);

assessing the university s engineering training programs to improve their relevance to in-the-field job requirements;

assigning engineering students to the P & T during vacation periods, providing sabbatical programs at the P & T for university lecturers, and providing continuing education programs at the University for P & T technical staff.

The collaboration agreement was expected to benefit not only the P & T in fulfilling their need for high-caliber manpower, but also to provide university lecturers with interaction with Ghana s telecommunications industry; thus helping them solve the ir problems, while saving the country foreign exchange funds used for foreign expatriate consultants.

4.0 TELECOMMUNICATIONS PROJECTS

4.1 The First Telecommunication Project

In 1975, the P & T began negotiating loans from many multilateral and bilateral financial institutions in order to undertake a number of development projects to modernize and expand both national and international telecommunication services in Ghana. The objective of these projects, known collectively as the First Telecommunication Project (FTP) was the rehabilitation, modernization and expansion of Ghana s national telecommunication network. The project, which was planned to last from 1975 to 1979, involved financial commitments totaling $76 million, which came from the government of Ghana, the World Bank, Japan, the African Development Bank, and Canada.

The specific accomplishments of the FTP include:

the installation of twelve new electronic exchanges to replace old and obsolete automatic and manual telephone exchanges; and thus increased Ghana s telephone line capacity by about 50 %;

increasing the number of subscriber trunk dialing centers from 18 to 24;

the construction of tertiary exchange, a telex, a message switch in the capital, and an earth station in the country;

the installation of microwave radio links for telephone and television transmission from the capital to the northern part of Ghana and initiating a second new microwave radio link; and

the construction of a third 500-kilometer microwave radio link linking Ghana to the two bordering nations of Togo and the Ivory Coast. This part of the FTP was intended to eliminate the transit of African telecommunication traffic through Europe and was popularly known as the PANAFTEL (Pan-African Telecommunication) Project.

Although the FTP was delayed as a result of changes in government, economic recession, and other social factors, it was eventually completed in 1985.

4.2 The Second Telecommunication Project

As part of Ghana s long-term telecommunication development program, a Second Telecommunication Project (STP) with an eight-year time frame was initiated in 1987. This project was intended to provide further rehabilitation, modernization, and expansion of the telecommunications facilities not covered by the FTP, as well as, the restructuring of the P & T.

The components of the STP were as follows:

expansion of the microwave transmission network and provision of coast station facilities at Tema for maritime telecommunication services;

rehabilitation and expansion of Ghana s switching network in thirteen urban centers and twenty-six rural communities;

rehabilitation and expansion of the external cable network to match the switching component described above;

rehabilitation of Ghana s satellite earth station;

provision of 330-line international telephone switch and a 1,000-line telex switch;

procurement of subscriber terminal equipment, spare parts, vehicles, and personal computers;

provision of in-house electronic data processing systems for improving billing systems, payroll, inventory, and the like;

acquisition of materials to provide one hundred housing units located throughout the country for telecommunications staff;

updating and upgrading of P & T training school facilities;

creation of fellowship and training programs for manpower development; and

separation and restructuring of the P & T into two entities.

Through 1992, about $50 million, representing 30 % of the loan, had been disbursed, and, as a result, the following elements of the STP had been completed: the international telephone switch, the rehabilitation of the satellite earth station, the rehabil itation of cable networks in parts of Accra, the rural radio telephone facilities at thirty-six rural and isolated locations, the 100-line telex switch, the

Telecommunications Master Plan, and the Telecommunications Corporate Plan. Figure 1 in the Appendix shows the projects that had been completed by the middle of 1989.

As a result of Ghana s economic growth, the cost of the STP, which was originally estimated at $140.7 million, was adjusted upward to $173 million. Table 1 in the Appendix shows the details of the projects s funding sources.

The following factors hampered the P & T s ability to achieve the stated goals of the STP: delays in approving projects, due to administrative controls; poor conditions of employee service, resulting in high staff turnover and the inability of the P & T's to attract and retain qualified personnel; shortage of skilled and qualified managerial, professional, and technical staff; lack of funds to reduce excess unproductive work force; and the absence of sufficient in-house facilities to promptly pro cess bills.

4.2.1 Impact of the STP

The impact of the completed portion of the STP on telecommunication services in Ghana was modest but appreciable. Table 2 in the Appendix shows the changes in some telecommunications service data between 1986 and 1990. One result of the completion of the STP was that subscriber circuits in the rehabilitated areas were improved and the fault rate significantly reduced. Because the rehabilitation program involved the expansion of the cable network, more subscribers were also connected to the network, resul ting in a 20 % growth in subscriptions. In addition, the number of direct exchange lines in working order increased from 60 % in 1987 to 89 % in March 1992. Also the availability since October 1988 of international direct dial service in twelve exchange a reas resulted in the promotion of international business and trade. The number of international satellite circuits also grew--from 41 satellite circuits in 1988 to 193 satellite circuits and 84 terrestrial circuits in 1992.

The STP also introduced AT&T/U.S.A. and U.K. direct service; airlines became capable of making reservations through SITA (Societé International Telecommunication Aeronautique) facilities; a meteorological department was created to send meteorolo gical and seismological data from various locations throughout Ghana to Accra; and press agencies/news houses, commodity markets, and financial institutions gained increased information and data transfer capabilities for transmission to and from the outsi de world.

Other benefits of the completed programs of the STP included high levels of generated revenue, significant growth in national and international telecommunications traffic, increased low-speed access to overseas data banks using telex services (particular ly those in the United States), and the capability of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) to transmit voice cast (radio commentary) and live television telecasts via satellite and simultaneous TV transmission from all GBC transmitters in the country.

The final completion of all projects in the STP in 1994 was expected to provide Ghana with sixty automatic exchanges linked by about 4,100 kilometers of microwave radio networks with 77,000 connected direct exchange lines. The P & T's turnover was pr ojected at 25 billion in 1994 compared with 17.8 billion for 1992--a 40 % increase--and the new business opportunities resulting from the full completion of the STP were expected to produce an economic facelift for all aspects of Ghana s commercial sector .

Despite the achievements of the STP, Ghana's telephone density, in 1994, (0.31 per one hundred inhabitants), is still among the lowest in Africa. Typical telephone densities for other African nations include 9 % for Libya, 1.3 % for Zimbabwe, 0.5 % for t he Ivory Coast, 0.33 % for Togo, 0.2 % for Nigeria, and 0.1 % for Burkina Faso. The enormity of the task facing Ghana and other African nations attempting telecommunications modernization becomes apparent when African telephone density rates are compared to those of selected nations in Europe and Asia: 62.4 telephones per one hundred inhabitants in Sweden, 43 in the United Kingdom, 42 in Japan, 41 in France, and 8 in Malaysia. Massive investment in accelerated telecommunications programs is the answer to improving Ghana s telephone penetration rate.

5.0 FUTURE PLANS FOR GHANA S TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE

The STP is the first phase of the Telecommunications Master Plan encompassing a twenty-year horizon (1987 - 2006), with each phase extended over a period of five years. It is expected that the Third and Fourth Telecommunication Projects--involving an inv estment of about $400 million--will have been completed by the year 2000. This will improve Ghana s telephone density from the current level of 0.31 per one hundred people to 0.534, with a corresponding increase in connected direct exchange lines of 52,00 0 (from 48,000).

These two projects plan to meet customer requirements through the following measures:

executing an accelerated program to implement district center telecommunication facilities to support the government s decentralization policy;

rehabilitating, expanding, and modernizing the switching, transmission, and local networks;

digitalizing the telecommunications network;

implementing a paging system;

instituting packet switching (data networks); and

introducing an Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) and Intelligent Networks.

5.1 Deregulation of Telecommunications

Prior to 1980, the P & T was the sole supplier and distributor of all telecommunications terminal equipment to the public. It was also the only institution that could install and maintain telecommunications equipment and run telephone services to the public (with the exception of two-way radio telecommunications equipment, which was also being supplied and installed by a few private foreign companies). In 1987, however, the government of Ghana relaxed the regulations, and private companies began to b e issued licenses and allocated frequencies enabling them to produce, install, and maintain any compatible telecommunications equipment. By 1992, about forty telephone companies were in operation, including a local cellular company and a paging company. O ther companies supply, install, and maintain terminal equipment such as facsimiles, telephones, PBX, and PABX (with capacities ranging from 4 to 4,300 extensions and manufactured by such companies as Panasonic, Toshiba, AT & T, Alcatel, Phillips and B ritish Telecom). Most of the companies now allowed to operate in Ghana are representatives of companies in Europe and the United States.

Depsite the improvements that will result from the STP, telecommunications in Ghana is still extremely inadequate. In 1995, only 37 of the 110 administrative districts of the country had telephone exchange facilities, and there were only 35 payphones in the entire country (with 32 in Accra). Also, there was an average of three falts per line per year, and the average duration of the faults was 7 days. Further, the cost per line was $3,500.00 as compared to $1000.00 in developed countries. The Ministry of Commnications estimated that a $450 million investment would be required between 1995 and 1999.

As a result of the dismal state of telecommunications, the high level of investment required and the retrenchment of multilateral funding for telecommunications development, in 1995, Ghana began an ambitious telecommunications restructuring initiative. T he proposed restructuring policy has the following components:

  1. the sale of the government's controlling in P & T through (i) the sale of a minority stake (which will have management control) to a stratgic investor, i.e., an international telecommunicationa operator, (ii) the sale of a stake to international finan cing institutions; (iii) the sale of a stake to local investors in Ghana;

  1. the licensing of a second main operator, which will compete with the P & T and have the same rights and obligations as the P & T;

  1. the licensing of private payphone operators in each of the regional capitals;

  1. allowing large coporate users to develop their own networks;

  1. utilizing build-operate-transfer (BOT) and similar private sector schems as as a tool for rapid expansion of service -- particularly in rural communies;

  1. the establishment of a regulatory body for the sector to be known as the National Communications Authority (NCA). The NCA will regulate service standards and tarfifss, as well as, seek to create the neccessray environment to stimulate investment in the se ctor. In 1995, a Bill to establish the NCA was before the Ghanaian Parliment.

As a broader initiative to attract international investment, Ghana has enacted a new Investment Code, Act 478. which has the following provisions: the unconditional transferability of dividends, loan service payments, fees and remittance; and a commitmen t that no enterprise shall be nationalized or expropriated by the Government.

It is clear that Ghana's telecommunications sector is at a turning point in its development. Although it is not certain whether all the proposed restructuring provisions will be enacted, Ghana's leadership has demonstated awareness that the current struc ture is inadequate and that a change is needed. Clearly, the future of Ghana's telecomunications sector will be much brighter than the past 100 years of inadequate and inefficent service.

6.0 CONCLUSION

A great deal needs to be done to improve and sustain higher quality of service in Ghana s telecommunications system. Deregulation of laws affecting telecommunication could go a long way toward encouraging individuals, universities, and research instituti ons to get involved in solving some of the local problems affecting telecommunications in Ghana. Deregulation would also encourage private individuals and institutions, both local and foreign, to invest in telecommunications and help to expand the telecom munications network by introducing new technologies that the government and the Post and Telecommunication Corporation cannot financially support. Delays in the approval and implementation of projects, caused by institutions and bureaucracies, have cost G hana considerable time, energy and capital that could have been invested in the telecommunications network.

Appendix 1

Figure 1 Telecommunications Projects/Tasks Completed

Item Project/Task Description Funding Amount

(m = millions)

1 NTC consultancy/master plan study IDA Y 40m
2 300 electronic teleprinters CCCE (France) FF 5,340.145
3 Accra international telephone switch CCCE (France) FF 33m
4 29 Facsimile and accessories CCCE (France) FF 604.500
5 JICA 1

  1. Provision of 17,400 cable pairs within castle ministries, state house Korlebu, Ridge, Rangoon, Accra Central Exchange

  1. PABX at ministries

  1. HDX 10 telephone training equipment

JICA (Japan)

Y 683m

6 Rehabilitation of Nkuntunse earth station Exim Bank (Japan) Y 979,477m
7 Supply of cables and accessories CCCE (France) FF 25m
8 Supplementary supply of materials CCCE (France) FF 11m
9 Accra North Cable Works Dutch Gov t./NKF Del 37m
10 34 rural telephone systems Ireland 2

 
 
 
Item Project/Task Description Date Started

(month/year)

Date Completed

(month/year)

Contractor
1 NTC consultant/master plan study 86 86 NTC
2 300 electronic teleprinters Aug. 87 May 88 Sagem
3 Accra international telephone switch Dec. 86 7 Oct.88 Alcatel-CIT (France)
4 29 facsimile and accessories Mar. 88 Feb. 89 Sagem
5 JICA 1

  1. Provision of 17,400 cable pairs within castle ministries, State house, Korlebu, Ridge, Rangoon, Accra Central Exchange
Nov. 87 Feb. 89
 
 
  1. PABX at ministries
July.88 Feb. 89 NEC
 
  1. HDX 10 Telephone Training Equipment
 
 
Hitachi
6 Rehabilitation of Nkuntunse Earth Station May. 87 Mar. 89 Marubeni/

NEC

7 Supply of cables and accessories Feb. 89 Oct. 89 Acome
8 Supplementary supply of materials
 
 
Sagem
9 Accra North Cable Works June 87 Dec. 87 NKF Holland
10 34 rural telephone systems June 86 Jan. 87 Telectron

Note: See appendix 2 for definitions of abbreviations used in this table.

Source: GPT Publication, Accra

Table 1 Telecommunication Service Data

 
1986 1990
DELs connected 38,046 44,834
DELs working
 
  1. 89%
Telex lines connected 316 881
Telex lines working
 
  1. 72%
International telephone circuits 41 254

DEL = direct exchange line

Source: GPT Publication, Accra

Table 2 STP Financing Sources

Source Foreign

(millions of US$)

Local

(millions of US$)

Total

(millions of US$)

Government of Ghana 1.5 9.8 11.3
CCCE (France) 21.7 - 21.7
Holland (NKF) 18.8 - 18.8
Japanese grant/JICA 9.2 - 9.2

Japan (EXIM) 7.0 - 7.0
Japan (OECF) 69.5 6.7 76.2
Ireland 1.7 - 1.7
IDA 18.3 0.7 19.0
Post and Telecommunication 2.3 5.5 7.8
T o t a l 150.0 22.7 172.7

Note: See appendix 2 for definitions of abbreviations used in this table.

Source: GPT Publication, Accra

Table 3 STD Call Rate 1992

Distance (kilometers) Unit Seconds Rate/Unit Cedis( )
Up to 32 90 20.00
32 - 80 40 20.00
80 -160 24 20.00
Over 160 16 20.00

Note: $1.0 = 450.00 (exchange rate, October 1992)

Cedis( ) = Ghana currency

$ = U.S. Dollar

Source: GPT Tariff Book

Appendix 2: Abbreviations

ADB African Development Bank

CCCE Caisse Centrale Corporation Economique de France

CESISC Combined Earth Station and International Switching Centre

Del Dutch currency

ECOWAS Economic Commission of West African States

EXIM Export-Import Bank

FF French francs

GFRCB Ghana Frequency Registration and Control Board

GPT Ghana Post and Telecommunication

HDX Hitachi Digital Exchange

IDA International Development Association

ITU International Telecommunication Union

JICA Japanese International Cooperation Agency

NEC Nippon Electric Company

NKF Netherlands Kabel Factory

NTC Nippon Telecommunication Consultancy

OECF Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund

PBX Private Branch Exchange

PABX Private Automatic Branch Exchange

PANAFTEL Pan-African Telecommunication

P & T Post and Telecommunication

PATU Pan-African Telecommunication Union

RASCOM Regional African Satellite Communication System

SITA Societe International Telecommunication Aeronautique

STD Subscriber Trunk Dialling

UHF Ultra High Frequency

  1. K. United Kingdom

  1. S.A. United States of America

VHF Very High Frequency

Y Japanese Yen

References

Ghana Telecoms Statistics, 1992, PORSPI/ISS, TUD

Ghana Frequency Allocation (Registration and Control) Decree, 1977

Salia, Edward. "Telecommunications in Ghana: A Changing Horizon," Africa Communications , Jan/Feb 1995

World Bank. "Ghana-Telecommunications Sector Investment Project," World Bank Project Report . Washington, Dc: World Bank, 1995

ENDNOTE


1 Part of the work was done when F.K.A. Allotey was a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.