Sierra Leone takes steps to broadband digital revolution


July 31, 2019

By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

Minister Mohamed Rahaman Swaray positive of inclusive digital transformation

Sierra Leone has taken aggressive steps to revolutionising  and embracing the new digital tools and emerging technologies that can hugely improve connectivity in public services.

The country is hosting this year’s Commonwealth ICT Forum on the theme “Broadband for Inclusive Digital Transformation” which would provide an excellent opportunity for participants to learn and share knowledge of deployment and utilization of digital transformation, through networking with various sectors.

The Minister of Information and Communication, Mohamed Rahaman Swaray, who officially opened the conference, said the forum would provide an excellent opportunity for participants to learn from global experts as well as sharing their experience on the successes and challenges in the deployment and utilisation of broadband.

He expressed gratitude to the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation (CTO) for availing the country with the opportunity to host this year’s conference, which has attracted experts from across Africa.

He stated that the importance of the theme for this years’ conference cannot be overemphasized as it is relevant to ‘all of us living in this fascinating and challenging world that is invisibly characterized by an astonishment of change fuelled by broadband technologies.’

He noted that the emergence of broadband and its associated applications are been used to transform the ways people communicate, socialize, shop, travel, work and has been used majorly in marketing across the world.

He said broadband in the 21century can among other things empower individuals, increase job creation, better communication and civic education, increase government services, and the overall impact on Gross Domestic Product.

The minister said they were adopting deliberate policies and strategies to ensure that the digital transformation in government, businesses and society in general happens during their dispensation.

Earlier, Acting Secretary General of CTO, Gisa Fuati Purcell,noted that the digital transformation can be achieved by having a much faster broadband, increasing network coverage, and building capacity for all.

She urged that the broadband must be accessible, affordable and secured as security of online services was crucial, adding that government must ensure that cyber security development runs hand-in-hand with the digital transformation.

She said the Government of Sierra Leone requested the CTO to conduct the cyber security workshop in the eve of the confab.

“This forum provides an excellent opportunity for participants to learn and share knowledge of deployment and utilisation of digital transformation, through networking with civil society and private sector,” she said.

She added that the programme would allow participants to discuss  a number of subjects critical to effective broadband deployment.

Meanwhile, the Director General of the National Telecommunication Commission  (NATCOM), Maxwell Massaquoi, noted in his brief statement that broadband is the future of information and  communication technology and that ‘future is now’.

He said for the fact that government has conceived and carried out the idea of hosting this year’s forum was a clear commitment to embracing the use of enhanced ICT for socio-economic transformational development.

He maintained that the forum cannot be ‘timelier’ as Sierra Leone has just concluded a two-day national consultative conference on the uptake of ICT with the theme “Leveraging digital technologies to position Sierra Leone on the path to economic transformation”.

“This conference and the commonwealth ICT forum 2019 virtually mirror one other for the good of Sierra Leone in ICT development,” he said.

He said although there might be challenges relating to access gaps, infrastructure among others, the transformational impact of broadband on people’s lives was no longer questionable, thus assuring that those challenges would be addressed ‘as we together build the broadband strategy for the future.’

The three days conference which is been hosted at the Bintumani conference centre would end on August 2nd with a communiqué that would be used as a roadmap for inclusive broadband connectivity.