July 24, 2020
By Bampia James Bundu: Strategic Communications Unit, Ministry of Information and Communications
The Deputy Minister of Information and Communications,Mamadi Gobeh-Kamara, has urged member states of the West Africa Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to develop friendly digital policies and effective regulatory environment with a view to ensuring access to digital services.
She made the above clarion call while delivering the Keynote address at the West Africa Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) which was held virtually on Wednesday, 22nd July.
The Deputy Minister emphasized that policy makers develop people friendly policies and regulatory environment to ensure that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged, have access and the right skills to use digital services.
She reiterated that policies be developed to promote affordable, robust broadband internet service, access to devices and support uptake of the right skills.
Madam Mamadi Gobeh-Kamara noted that the IGF provides an excellent opportunity for bringing together stakeholders in the region to discuss broad ranging internet issues and facilitate common understanding of how to maximize internet opportunities and address risks and challenges that arise.
She informed that the President of Sierra Leone Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio has called for scaling-up in the development of ICT/Telecom services to create a digital inclusive Sierra Leone and transform the country into a digital economy.
The Deputy Minister disclosed that the Government of Sierra Leone has developed an electronic compliance enforcement management system to support government’s policy on the removal of inter district lockdown as well as reopening of the country’s international airport for regional and international travels as part of implementation of enhanced COVID-19 response regulations.
She however acknowledged that despite the strides made by government in reforming the ICT sector, challenges still persist regarding high cost and access to ICT/Telecom services, as well as connecting the remaining unconnected areas.
She described the theme of the conference “Digital Inclusion and Access in West Africa in Response to COVID-19” as relevant at a time when governments and regional leaders are implementing measures like social distancing and other health related protocols to curtail the spread of COVID-19.