By Edzorna Francis Mensah
A report by the Ghana Statistical Service has revealed that more than 4 million people in the working age bracket (15 to 60 years) did not use the internet in the three months before the last census.
The report also said, vulnerable populations notably children who have never attended school, the multidimensionally poor, and persons with disabilities are at high risk of digital exclusion and the success of Ghana’s digital economy agenda hinges on bridging the digital divides.
The Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim who was speaking at the program on Thursday 27th April 2023 to launch the StatsBank and to also release the 2021 population and housing census thematic brief on digital exclusion in Ghana at Accra has also indicated that “5.1 million persons in Ghana aged 6
years and older were digitally excluded i.e. they did not use an ICT device in the three months before Census”.
This represents about one in every five (19.6%) persons 6 years and older.
Further, three in every ten persons (31.4%) in this age group did not use the Internet in the three months.
Concerning digital financial inclusion, the Professor said, “Over one-third (36.7%) of adults 18 years and older did not use a mobile device for a financial transaction in the previous three months.
Nationally the digital divide by sex, which is the difference between males and females in the percentage that did not use ICT devices is 2.7 percentage points”.
“The divide is largest for the age group 61 years and older (16.6 percentage points difference) and the age group 6 to 14 years is the only category where a higher proportion of males did not use an ICT device relative to females.
He said the difference in the percentage of persons that did not use ICT devices and that of Greater Accra exceeded 20 percentage points in six regions – Savannah (37.3 percentage points), North East (34.9 percentage points), Northern (29.1 percentage points), Upper West (26.9 percentage points), Oti (24.0 percentage points), and Upper East (23.2 percentage points).
In her remarks, Dr. Grace Bediako, the Chair of the GSS Governing Board of the GSS highlighted the importance of the event whose focus was using data to project not just the population but most importantly girls in this digital age.
She noted the release would “demonstrate the utility of these statistics, making statistics widely available and gain insights into digital exclusion”. She continued with the importance of generating gender-sensitive statistics for decision-making and said that “gender gaps can only be addressed by tackling them head on” – which only be done with gender-sensitive statistics.
She concluded with the importance of the StatsBank and noted the census was a significant national exercise and it is, therefore the responsibility of the stakeholders to ensure that the data is used to the fullest.
The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) for the first time has developed an online database for accessing disaggregated census statistics.
The GSS StatsBank, which contains over 300 million unique statistics from the published 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) will allow users to generate customized tables and maps at the national, and sub-national levels at no cost.
The development of the StatsBank is part of GSS’ commitment to utilizing innovative and user-friendly methods to disseminate findings from Ghana’s first fully digital census and promote the uptake of the data for decision-making.