Saudi Arabia pleased with developments in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Information Attaché to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Middle-East and Gulf States early this week told a group of government officials, medical practitioners, academicians and businessmen in Riyadh about the Pan African e-Network project launched in Sierra Leone about a few months ago. (Information Attache, Alhaji Jalloh, talking about developments in his country in front of Saudi cameras)
Alhaji Jalloh who represented the Sierra Leone Embassy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in an e-Government Summit hosted at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Riyadh was talking on “Transformation in Information and Communication” in Sierra Leone when he gave a brief explanation about the recent launching of the Pan African e-Network project comprising Tele-Medicine and Tele-Education, Internet, Video Conferencing and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOI).
The Information Attaché told his audience that Tele-Medicine was operational at Connaught, the main Government hospital in the country.
“It comprises online consultation-one hour per country, offline consultation five patients per country and continuing Medical Education, with five hundred practicing doctors and one thousand practicing nurses receiving training in specialized fields,” Jalloh told the conference quoting a recently published government magazine.
On Tele-Education, he said, it lectures off-line classroom education in various courses at the country’s main university, Fourah Bay College and targets a total of ten thousand learners with a distribution of five thousand for diploma and certificate programmes and three thousand for undergraduate programmes.
The Sierra Leone diplomat went further to explain about Government’s agreement with some of its international partners to develop rural areas in his country with Information and Communications Technology (ICT) education, literacy, providing access to health information, supporting local businesses and dissemination of public information.
The Press Attaché also reiterated at the meeting that since His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma assumed office in September 2007, Government has been providing high-quality services to its people in a more efficient, effective and responsive ways.
He, therefore, called on Saudi businessmen and investors in the Gulf States to go and invest in Sierra Leone stressing that the country is very stable and secured.
He added that, a One Stop Shop is now being set up for Business Registration which helps to shorten the time for registration of business to the minimum of a day or a maximum of two days.
He explained that it is for this reason that the Government has established the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) to assist investors in obtaining licenses, permits and facilitation of registration of business enterprise.
Responding, the Saudi Arabian Deputy Minister of Culture and Information, Dr. Abdulaziz Al Mulhem told the meeting that he was encouraged to hear about such developments in the West African State of Sierra Leone.
He re-echoed the need for Saudi investors to invest in Africa, particularly Sierra Leone which is now enjoying peace and stability.
Talking on e-Government in Saudi Arabia, he said that in 2010 alone, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia moved up 12 places in the world rankings for e-Government readiness.
This, he said, reflects the Kingdom’s acceleration to becoming a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leader.
“By the end of 2010, everyone in the Kingdom will be able to enjoy from anywhere at any time, world-class government services offered in seamless, user friendly and secure way by utilizing a variety of electronic means,” he told the conference.
The summit was organized by NASEBA, an Information Technology organization based in Saudi Arabia and some Gulf States. It promotes and hosts business summits and offers professional training courses in Information Technology.
What is e-government?
E-Government has been identified as one of the top priorities for governments across the world. It represents a fundamental change in the public sector structure, values, culture and ways of conducting business by utilizing the potential of ICT as a tool in the government agency. It fundamentally alters the way public services are delivered and managed.
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