Ghana has partnered the International Communications Union ( ITU) in hosting the 14th Kaleidoscope Conference in Accra.
The Kaleidoscope 2022 on the theme “Extended Reality-How to Boost Quality of Experience and Interoperability,” is the 14th in a series of peer-reviewed academic conferences organized by ITU.
It brings together a wide range of views from universities, industry, and research institutions.
The Kaleidoscope conferences aim to identify emerging developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs) and areas in need of international standards to aid the sustainable development of the interconnected world.
The three-day meeting is being organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Digitisation, the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, and the National Communications Authority.
Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications and Digitisation, said “We cherish our membership of the ITU and are grateful for our re-election to the Council in October this year and to the Radio Regulations Board (RRB) as well.
“I congratulate all who have contributed in diverse ways to make this year’s conference a reality.” Mrs Owusu-Ekuful stated in her remarks at the opening of the Kaleidoscope Conference in Accra.
She noted that the world had seen major advancements in emerging technologies in the virtual, augmented, and mixed realities, with growing use in business and the more developmental areas of science, health, and education.
“We all are aware and agree on the enormous potential impact of Extended Reality on the global economy,” she stated.
“A recent PwC report finds that VR and AR have prospects to deliver a $1.5 trillion boost to the global economy by 2030. However, immersive technologies remain a niche and are not as widespread as they can be even in advanced societies.”
Touching on participation in the digital economy, the Minister said digital economies provided unique opportunities for countries to accelerate economic growth and connect citizens to services and jobs.
She said research estimated the value of global digital economy to be $11.5 trillion, equivalent to 15.5 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) and the pace of growth averages 2.5 times faster than global GDP over the past 15 years.
She said the effectiveness of a country’s digital transformation agenda was undergirded by a clearly defined digital policy and strategy; adding that to this end, the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation was currently leading stakeholder engagement efforts on Ghana’s draft Digital Economy Policy for inputs to ensure inclusiveness and comprehensiveness.
She said the draft policy was hinged on five pillars including digital governance, data and emerging technologies, digital skills, universal access and connectivity and digital entrepreneurship.
Dr Collins Yeboah-Afari, Director-General, Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, said Ghana was the first West African country to host the ITU Kaleidoscope Conference.
He noted that data on Extended Reality showed that more than half of Africa’s population do not enjoy a fully digital experience; adding that was why the Government, through its various Ministries and implementing agencies, was championing the digitalisation agenda in the country.
Mr Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, underscored the significance of metaverse community – an online virtual reality platform that allows users to interact with each other through avatars.
At the event, Mr Chaesub declared that Kyebi was the ITU Smart Sustainable City in Ghana.
A smart sustainable city is an innovative city that uses information and communication technologies and other means to improve quality of life.
Receiving the award, Madam Akosua Asabea Annoh, the Abuakwa South Municipal Chief Executive, said the achievement had been made possible through the efforts of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council, the Municipal Assembly and their team from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
She said, she had supported the Smart Sustainable Cities Project, because she believed that the work, they do at the Assembly should be grounded in evidence-based decision-making, which had formed the basis for their commitment to support ICT driven initiatives.