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31.8% of Ghana’s Population Remained Offline in 2023 – Report

About 10.75 million Ghanaians, who make up 31.8% of the population are still not connected to the internet, a new report has found.

Despite a majority of Ghanaians having bridged the internet divide through access to internet services, about 10.75 million more Ghanaians, who make up 31.8 per cent of the population are still not connected to the internet, a 2023 report on digital rights inclusion found.

The report titled LONDA and published by Paradigm Initiative (PIN), a Pan-African organisation, was released this month, with a focus on crosscutting issues affecting digital rights and inclusion in 26 African countries.

“The report identifies key developments and proffers critical recommendations. By implementing these recommendations and working together, stakeholders can build a strong and sustainable digital environment in Africa where everyone can exercise their rights online,” the authors said.

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In Ghana, it particularly found that despite progress being made for the advancements in digital inclusion for the over two million Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs), a lot of challenges remain, as PWDs have lower rates of mobile phone ownership and mobile internet usage than people without disabilities.

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“Research conducted by GSMA found that PWDs are 34% less likely to own a mobile phone and 72% less likely to own a smartphone. Only 16% of PWDs use mobile internet, compared to 61% of persons without disabilities. The main barriers reported by PWDs are the cost of gadgets, low literacy levels, and the disability itself,” the report said.

These barriers affect their ability to take advantage of the benefits of digital technologies, even as the cost of internet data adds to already experienced levels of exclusion.

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To address these problems, authors recommend multistakeholder partnerships, affordable and accessible technology, awareness-raising, and digital skills training at all levels.

“PWDs themselves should be at the forefront of digital inclusion efforts. PWDs must be included in policymaking and technology design processes,” it said. “Already, PWD organisations are driving inclusion through advocacy campaigns, peer support networks, and assistive technology programs. With greater opportunities to get online, PWDs can make their voices heard.”

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