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Vodafone cafés bridge the digital divide

Accra, June 26. Ghanadot - Clients and patrons visiting Vodafone Ghana’s internet cafés have praised the introduction of the Vodafone Café concept as an opportunity that will help bridge the digital divide in Ghana.

The patrons, notably students, researchers, lecturers and the general public, who spoke in separate interviews at different Vodafone cafés, in Accra, Cape Coast, Koforidua and Kumasi said even though the cafes came at a time when broadband access, across the country, was at a low ebb, these Vodafone cafés have been instrumental in changing that trend and have reduced the hassle of browsing.

A student, Richard Asante, said during one of the interviews that the Vodafone café concept is one of the best things that have happened to the ICT industry in Ghana, lately. “We students are now able to get access to the internet for research purposes that will help us gain better insight into our respective fields of study.”

The digital divide is commonly defined as the gap between people and communities that have, and those who do not have access to information technologies that are transforming our lives.

Vodafone, currently, has 11 cafés spread across all 10 regional capitals in Ghana. These cafés according to reports are always filled to capacity by patrons who say they are happy Vodafone introduced the internet cafés.

Martin Nsiah, a student of NIIT, an ICT training school in Accra, believes that the Vodafone cafes have come as relief to internet users compared to the drudgery that is usually associated with some of the regular cafés who do not apply for the appropriate bundle category and thus create congestion on the lines at their cafés.

Goerge Doe, an IT specialist in Accra also said in another interview that he is a regular patron of the Vodafone cafés at Kwame Nkrumah Circle and Cantonments and, “I can say that I love the upload and download speed at these cafés. You can do whatever you want on the net, unlike what happens in other areas."

At the Accra Mall, Cantonments and the head office of Vodafone Ghana, at Circle, Vodafone internet cafés were all bustling with activity and satisfied customers who urged Vodafone to expand its cafés to accommodate more patrons.

Other customers would want Vodafone to give them discounts because they are regular at the cafés. “We must get discounts because we come here on regular basis and give Vodafone a lot of business.”

Answering questions as to what motivated Vodafone Ghana to get into running internet cafés, Nana Otuo Acheampong Manu, Head of Consumer Fixed Promotions at Vodafone, said the café concept is in line with supporting Ghana’s dream of bridging the digital divide and providing internet access to as many people in Ghana as possible.

“We are constantly working to ensure that we provide our customers with the best of services at our internet cafes and will stop at nothing to give them the best”, said Nana Manu.

"Vodafone is working on special packages for its café clients, and one of these packages is the loyalty card," the Head of Retail Operations, Kate Amoo-Gottfried told journalists

 “The number of visitors to the Vodafone Internet Cafés" she said "has continued to increase since the launch. Young students who have never used the internet before are able to connect to the World Wide Web for the very first time or set up their own email account. It is exciting to be able to share such an incredible resource like the internet and be part of these first-time experiences for Ghana’s youth.”

Vodafone is also powering private internet cafés as part of efforts to reach out to more people and thus increasing the total number of people who have access to ICT.

“We will furnish these third party cafés with full Vodafone products to make our products and services easily available” Kate Amoo-Gottfried said.






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