December 1, 2021
By Alfred Koroma
The Ministry of Information and Communications has yesterday 16 December organized a one-day Workshop with different sectors, ministries, departments agencies, as well as media practitioners to validate the country’s National Digital Development Strategy (NDDS) developed by the Ministry.
“The validation workshop was to seek the views of different stakeholders present on the ambition, direction and approach to the nation’s digital future,” said the Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray.
“The strategy will put us in the driver’s seat and steer our nation so that we grab the opportunities and benefits it offers for all of us. I am committed to doing exactly that,’’ he stated.
The Minister said as the world witnesses the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) powered by broadband technologies that has brought faster transformation, there is a need for the country to embrace technology, set a path and use it well through the National Digital Development Strategy, adding that the pillars of the NDDS have been carefully selected to include all the key aspects that Sierra Leone needs to focus on in order to actively participate in the global digital economy.
The Minister informed participants that they have concluded the second mission on the development of the proposed USD $50M Digital transformation project which will lay key foundations to develop a digital economy and tackle challenges often encountered in the ICT/telecom sectors. The project will be supported with funds from World Bank.
The development of the NDDS which started in 2019, is in support of the Government’s commitment to achieving cluster 3.5 of the Medium-Term National Development Plan that aims to ‘’Building a digital economy, and President Bio’s vision to leave behind a Smart and Digitally connected Sierra Leone.
A representative from the country’s national telecommunication regulators – NATCOM, described the NDDS as a grand plan to fully digitize the country, explaining that the strategy comes with active cooperation among stakeholders in the ICT industry and will benefit users in all areas of business and educational institutions.
He noted the Commission’s continued commitment to the Ministry to ensure that the country is fully digitized through the NDDS.
Edward Kwame Yankson , the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary who chaired the program said the development of appropriate legal and policy framework in the telecommunication and ICT sector by the Ministry does not only respond to government commitment in the Medium-Term National Development Plan, but equally lays the foundation for citizens to experience first-hand opportunities offered by digital technologies.
In the journey the journey to achieving this agenda, cabinet has also on Wednesday 15 December, approved the National Digital Development Policy that was initiated and developed by the Ministry of Information and Communication.
The validation workshop was based on seeking suggestions and recommendations from participant on areas such as governance, coordination, and partnership; digital infrastructure and Access, digital skills and human capital development, digital government, E-commerce and digital financial services, emerging technologies, innovation and digital entrepreneurship; and data governance and cybersecurity which are the NDDS’ focused areas.