Failure To Launch: Ghana Government And It’s Track Record With Technology Projects

The Ghana Government doesn’t really have a good track record when it comes to technology projects in Ghana. Projects are either behind schedule or ineffective at launch date.

But governments, in general, can be said to be bad with IT projects.

In 2013, the Obama Administration in the US attempted to launch their HealthCare website. But on launch day, the website was plagued with bugs and errors. This was a disaster for the administration and ultimately resulted in the firing of the Health Secretary at the time.

Ghana has had its fair share of IT projects which haven’t turned it out so well. There are numerous reasons why most of these IT projects fail. Some reasons could be the result of change in government, ministerial shuffles, lack of major stakeholder involvement (and commitment) and of course, insider sabotage.

So here’s a list of Government IT projects which haven’t faired so well.

Ghana IT Projects

  • Project Name: Ghana E-Project
  • Project Start Date: 2006
  • Project Cost: $42 Million

Started in 2006, this project was to modernize and digitize various institutions in Ghana including the Registrar General Department, Ghana Police and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA). The project is supposed to make the purchases of goods and services like Driver Licenses and Tax payments easier by making the process electronic instead of manual.

Fast forward to 2018 and this project appears to be either incomplete or is facing lack of engagement from the public.

But it’s not bad news. In terms of infrastructure, the government has done well in that regard especially with the development of a fibre optic backbone infrastructure on Ghana’s Eastern Corridor which is expected to be completed in 2020. (With financial support from the Danish government)

But in 2018, Ghanaians were supposed to conducting simple activities like registering their businesses online, applying for passports electronically, and filing police reports, all through the simple click of a button. But that remains to be seen.

  • Project Name: National ID Project
  • Project Start Date: 2008
  • Project Cost: $293 Million (Current Cost of Project)

There’s been a lot of noise about the Ghana ID project. The Ghana ID project started as far back as 2008 when the National Identification Authority started collecting data on citizens to register for the official “Ghana ID Card“.

After many false starts, changes in government, assured promises, the Ghana Card has become “elusive” for the average Ghanaians. The project which was supposed to start earlier in the year has been postponed several times and is still yet to fully get off the ground.

So what exactly could be the problem?

Bad Project Management? Government interference? Bad scoping of work?

  • Project Name: Digital Terrestrial TV Migration
  • Project Start Date: 2015
  • Project Cost: $46,689,705 (Approx. $46.7 Million)

In 2015, Ghana, along with a host of other countries responded to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to migrate from analog broadcasting to digital by June 2015.

On October 2015, the Ministry of Communications signed a contract with K-Net Limited for the rolling out of the Digitial Terrestrial Television (DTT) project which demanded the completion of the DTT network within 12 months.

Despite several set deadlines and numerous assurances to fully switch from analog to digital, the Government has so far been unable to get its chips in order with the date to fully switch to digital in 2018 looking shakier as the months go bar.

  • Project Name: Ghana Digital Property Addressing System
  • Project Start Date: 2017
  • Project Cost: $2.5 million

This might seem a bit early to talk about this project but it’s doesn’t really seem like the Digital Addressing system (GhanaPostGPS) is off to a good start. The Deputy Communication Minister recently made news that the system would need an additional $11 million for public awareness and marketing.

At Tech Nova, we listed our concerns when we initially reviewed the GhanaPostGPS app. The use of an “app” to try and address Ghana’s address problem just doesn’t seem to be the solution especially when a portion of Ghanaians don’t have access to a smartphone device and have trouble with street addresses and general directions. Generation of an alphanumeric code won’t make things any better.

But we’ll keep an eye on this current project and hope to see it succeed. But call us skeptical on this one and see if it’s still worthwhile.

So what do you think? Does government need to find a different approach when it comes to project managing and effectively launching its IT projects? Or does something else dramatic need to happen before they get it right?