Deputy Information Minister traverses sub-region on ICT progress
The Deputy Minister of information and Communications, Sheka Tarawalie, arrived in Dakar, Senegal, on Monday 17th October to attend the African Union-hosted ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) ministerial conference on ICTs after sojourning in Ghana and Ivory Coast for similar reasons.
“We have just registered the historic goal of landing the fibre optic cable. This is an enormous achievement under the leadership of President Koroma and the stewardship of Minister I.B. Kargbo. And the news is all over the place – on CNN, the BBC, the internet and all – but the fact is that we have a more enormous responsibility to ensure that the country itself is connected through the construction of the terrestrial backbone. Only then can we realize the full benefits of what we are talking about, only then can we see the real ICT revolution. So we have to attend conferences, seminars, workshops and meetings with a view to fulfilling this dream,” Minister Tarawalie said in an interview on arrival at the Leopold Sedhar Senghor International airport.
The Minister left Sierra Leone a day before the fibre landed in Freetown and arrived in Accra, Ghana, to hold meetings with executives at RLG Ghana (a hardware assembling company for mobile phones and computers which has expressed an interest in training over 10,000 Sierra Leonean youths on ICT) and officials at the Chinese-owned Huawei Technologies’ sub-regional headquarters which has already signed an MOU with the Ministry of Information & Communications for the construction of the interconnecting national fibre backbone.
In Ivory Coast, Minister Tarawalie, accompanied by his Ministry’s Director of Communications Mohamed Alie Bah, attended the eleventh ECOWAS meeting of the Ministers in charge of telecommunications and ICTs to discuss ways of maximizing the full potential of ICTS in the interest of the sub region, including access to submarine cables and landing stations. During the conference, held in Yamoussoukro, Sierra Leone was singled out for praise in its strides in the ICT sector. “Indeed, we were commended for the great work we have done. Apart from the landing of the fibre optic cable which coincided with the Yamoussoukro meeting, we were lauded for being the only ECOWAS country to have set up a steering committee and a Project Implementation Unit (PIU) for the ECOWAN project that would see sub-regional countries interconnected via ICT. We are very much at the forefront, and others are using us as an example. But that is more the reason why we should work harder because much is expected from whom much has been given,” the Co-Government Spokesman said.
The Dakar AICAN meeting is scheduled to end by the weekend, and Minister Tarawalie is expected to visit The Gambia on a similar objective before returning home. He has been joined in Dakar by the Deputy Secretary in the Ministry, Gilbert Cooper.
By Ralph Ese Donnu Sawyerr, Information Attaché, Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Senegal and The Gambia
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