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Sierra Leone News: ERICSSON partners with Airtel on Building Networked Society in Sierra Leone

ERICSSON one of the renowned telecommunications service providers around the world in collaboration with Airtel Sierra Leone yesterday commenced a one day training for government officials and the private sector at the Shangri-La complex along Lumley Beach in Freetown.
The objective of the training is to build the capacity of government personnel on Information Communication Technology Development, through a networked society. Johnethern Khann of ERCSSON Africa based in Kenya Nairobi said network is key to moving Africa forward towards Information Technology Development as they predicts that 50 billion devices will be networked or connected by 2020. He said the company has been supplying network equipment since 1919 stating that they have provided Airtel with network design and development services, supply of 3G HSPA mobile broadband maintenance of network services. He said telecommunications is faced with challenges in the areas of Internet access, limited or unreliable electricity and the inadequate capacity development of local competence. He also said “we hope to support the telecommunications sector in Sierra Leone.”
Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Theo Nicol said three months ago Airtel visited the Ministry to discuss issues regarding ERICSSON’s operations and how to develop the capacity of government officials.
He said for Sierra Leone to be part of the global age, building the capacity of people for a paperless function through the use of telecommunication devices was key.
He said the government is recruiting many civil servants in the ICT sector and called for a continuation of training opportunities. He pointed out that communication is diverse and people should embrace the features of communications for the society and commended Airtel for providing the training for government officials.
The Deputy Minister disclosed that the Metropolitan backbone and the ECOWAN projects are still under construction and expect to be completed as soon as possible and encouraged participants to take ownership of ICT development in the country.
Deputy Director General of NACTOM expressed profound thanks and appreciation to ERICSSON and Airtel for organizing the training and called on participants to make good use of the knowledge learnt in their various institutions. He said there is low Internet connectivity in the country but assured that government is working towards improving access and connectivity.
The Managing Director of Airtel RVS Bhullar said the company has introduced broadband networks in 67 geographical locations and over 70% of the population is connected with the latest services. He added that Airtel also launched mobile banking through its network. He said every 10 mobile penetration ensures a 1% GDP and it also creates direct or indirect employment and revenue generation for the government of Sierra Leone. “We want to ensure the use of ICT as a driver towards economic growth with a fully liberalized sector and concession on taxes.”  Chairman of the parliamentary committee on Information and Communication Binneh Bangura also commended ERICSSON and Airtel for organizing the training.
August 09, 2013

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