The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vodadone Ghana, Patricia Obo-Nai, has emphasised the need for digitalisation to be accessible to all, particularly society’s most vulnerable.
Speaking at the 2023 Optical Networking and Communication Conference and Exhibition plenary session in San Diego, California, she said, “What we should see in our scope of work is that we’re changing lives… touching lives by the very technology that we develop and the way we use it”.
During a plenary on the topic “Harnessing Digitalisation for Effective Social Change”, she highlighted Super Care, a digital platform that has made a significant difference in the lives of people who were speech impaired or deaf.
She touched on how the Vodafone Ghana team employed sign language experts, trained some customer-facing employees, and introduced customised packages to help this vulnerable group stay connected.
Mrs Obo-Nai talked about Instant Schools, a learning platform that connects thousands of teachers and students in Ghana to e-learning materials from the basic to the secondary level of education. Over 25,000 learners in Ghana are now connected and can engage with basic curriculum, whether at home or in school.
She also noted how technology was improving health outcomes for pregnant women in the region, indicating that over 20 per cent of pregnant women experienced haemorrhage on their way to hospital because of bad roads and lack of access to transport.
Highlighting some key issues standing in the way of digital connectivity in Africa, Mrs Obo-Nai pointed to poor network coverage, low device penetration, low digital literacy, and a lack of relevant digital content. She emphasised the need for a deeper collaboration between governments and the private sector. “No one agency or company can address this problem. We must all work together to ensure that we leave no one behind,” she said.
She stressed that digitalisation efforts must consider the unique challenges that women and girls faced, citing examples like Code-Like-A-Girl and Female Engineering Scholarship Scheme Programme, which both challenged gender stereotypes in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics).
She called on the participants to focus on using technology to make an impact and drive lasting change in society.
The Optical Networking and Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC) is the largest global conference and exhibition for optical communications and networking professionals.
The programme is comprehensive — from research to marketplace, components to systems and networks and technical sessions.
OFC, held in San Diego, California, USA, which started and ended on March 9, 2023, drew attendees from all corners of the globe to meet and greet, teach and learn, make connections, and move the industry forward.