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Opinions of Sunday, 1 July 2012

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

Is It Not Time Ghana Did A Deal With Google?

Is It Not Time Ghana Did A Public Private Partnership Deal With Google?

By Kofi Thompson

Listening to challenges faced getting around Accra for their business appointments, by a number of foreign nationals interested in doing business in Ghana, set me thinking.

It made me wonder whether Ghana could not benefit from a private public partnership (PPP) deal with Google - to leverage the search giant's street-mapping expertise.

One result of such a PPP, would be to make satellite navigation nationwide possible in Ghana.

It would also give us the capability of literally locating every road and building in Ghana digitally.

The ability to locate every building and road in the areas under their jurisdiction, for example, would enable District Assemblies to number buildings and give names to roads in the areas they administer.

That would mean that District Assemblies nationwide could obtain more revenue from property rates - a sustainable source of much-needed revenue for them to fund the provision of modern infrastructure.

Additionally, through such a PPP, all the official documents stored in our public record archives could be digitised by Google at no cost to Ghana - as such a content deal would add further value to the Google brand.

Above all, as a means of being able to go from one point to another anywhere in Ghana, without having to ask for directions, nothing beats tapping in the name of a destination in Ghana, and using one's vehicle's sat-nav system to get to it.

It wouldn't be surprising in the slightest, if the rest of Africa did not also rush to line up for similar win-win PPP deals with Google.

For Ghana, one of the many benefits of such a PPP deal with Google, would be to further enhance "brand Ghana" - and help make Ghana even more attractive to investors: both local and foreign.

The government of Ghana ought to move quickly to explore the possibility of a PPP deal with Google. The search giant has the wherewithal to fund such a deal - which would result in a giant leap forward for the enterprise Ghana.

For its manifold economic and social benefits, is it not time Ghana did a public private partnership deal, with Google?

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