Mrs Sampson delivering the Minister's speech
Mrs Sampson delivering the Minister's speech

The Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF) with Liquid Democracy, has launched a platform to build the capacity of youth and enable them to contribute to the decision making processes at the local levels of governance.

Mrs Sampson delivering the Minister's speech
Mrs Sampson delivering the Minister’s speech

The e-participation platform in governance, dubbed Ybridge, is geared towards enhancing the participation of the youth in participatory democracy. Konrad Adenauer Stiftung is supporting the programme the centre that would serve both public and private entities.

The pilot of the platform, would cover initially cover four district assemblies in four regions; Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan area in the Western Region, Gomoa West District in the Central Region, Accra Metropolitan area in the Greater Accra Region and Asuogyaman District in the Eastern Region.

In a statement read by Mrs. Patricia Dovi Sampson, Minister of Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, announced that the government was building a National Data Centre infrastructure, expected to be completed at the end of October in a bid to bridge gaps in infrastructure to allow broader participation in the information age.
The Minister said: “This facility comprises of a Primary data centre in Accra with 500 rack space estimated to be the largest in West Africa…There is a secondary data centre located in Kumasi, which has been completed” he explained.
The centre would provide a wide range of services, including web hosting, cloud computing and would have service solutions and dedicated servers and more than two petabytes storage.

Dr. Omane Boamah, congratulated the YBF and Liquid Democracy; a German civil society organization, and developers of the Ybridge platform, for their focus on and investment in young people in Ghana.

He said many initiatives were being implemented by the Ministry of Communications in fulfillment of its mandate to facilitate the creation of reliable and cost-effective communications infrastructure.

These, he said, were driven by appropriate technological innovation to enhance the promotion of economic competitiveness in a knowledge-based environment.

The Minister mentioned the execution of the eGhana project, started in 2006 and the establishment of the National Information Technology (IT) agency to rollout a nationwide network to serve all state agencies with network and internet access.

There is also the provision of nationwide 4G LTE network that provides access to key government services to all regional and some district offices of Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, connected to the seat of government by a 10GbBs fiber ring, he said.

Underscoring the need for participation and feedback, Dr Omane Boamah said the Open Data team was currently developing communities on the portal for several sectors where experts and citizens could review and critique the government with the intention of providing constructive feedback for improved accountability of government administrators.

He said: “The E-participation in Governance platform clearly fits in line with our broad and strategic objectives. For us as a Ministry, the most important component of this innovation is the fact that it seeks to rally youth participation in the governance processes in Ghana.

?With over 60% of Ghana?s population being below the ages of 35, there is surely no other option apart from getting youth on board and giving them a voice.”

He urged the youth to take advantage of the Ybridge platform to bring to the fore issues that affected them and advised them to be decent in their discourse on the platform.

“You can be heard without being abusive or insulting on such platforms so users will make a big and better impact as people watch their style of writing and contributions,? he advised.
He also pledged the Ministry’s total commitment to partnering the YBF and its partners to scale the project up to cover all districts of the country.
Mr. Douglas Quartey, Programs Manager YBF, said the project had been born of the need to get citizens, especially the youth to make input into national development as well as into the work of civil society organisations, using technological advancements which presented opportunities to engage people.

The Ybridge platform was chosen for its easy accessibility to the youth.
It is modeled after an existing platform in Europe called Ypart. It seeks to amplify young people’s voices through political and civil engagement using the internet.

It allows them to discuss societal and political issues on the platform by posting proposing and them discussing them on the platform.
Proposals generated on the platform would be officially compiled and presented to the relevant authorities quarterly or when necessary so as to track progress on its execution.

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