A new enterprise between the Ghana government and multinational computer microchip maker Intel, is expected to bring affordable computer ownership within reach of thousands of Ghana households and small business owners over the next three years.

A range of inexpensive, brand new computers, supplied with access to the internet, will go a long way towards improving the level of computer literacy amongst the nation’s workforce and will help students with home study as well as improving their computing skills in readiness for employment. And to make it easy for salaried workers to buy the package, an instalment payment plan will be available through their employer or trade association.

A new partnership between computer re-sellers, Internet service providers and banks was inaugurated at a workshop for potential stakeholders and beneficiaries of the project held in Accra. At the workshop, over 150 representatives of employers’ and professional associations, ministries, departments and agencies of government, businesses, church groups, educationalists and the media were introduced to the partnership.

According to Intel representative, Sam Mensah, Ghana is one of a number of developing countries that the company is working with. “We believe this joint venture between us, the government and the other partners is a win-win situation all round with the ultimate benefit going to the computer end user.”

Dr Benjamin Aggrey Ntim, Deputy Minister of Communications pointed out that Ghana’s growth strategy relied heavily on a competent workforce with well developed IT skills. For this to be achieved, it was vital to provide affordable access to internet ready computers both in the home and at work.

Initial target for the project will be substantial employers and umbrella organizations having access to large workforces and with the ability to deduct repayments from their salaried workers or members. Explains Kwami Ahiabenu II of the programme management office “It is important that we achieve economies of scale early in the project lifecycle so that we can move large volumes of internet ready computers into the marketplace quickly. This way, the benefit of home computer ownership at affordable prices will be recognized and passed on by word-of-mouth to friends and co-workers.”

The computers, which are sold under the iADVANCE brand, meet internationally recognized specifications similar to proprietary products which sell on the local marketplace at over twice the retail price. This is achieved by assembling the computers in Ghana from only Intel approved products as well as through bulk buying of their component parts.

The iADVANCE programme, with the theme computer4all, commences immediately and enquiries from employers, associations and businesses wishing to offer pre-financed internet ready computers to staff or members, is welcomed.