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Sierra Leone News: 10 Universities/Tertiary institutions to get free internet

World Bank Rep.

World Bank Rep.

At a joint press conference organised by the Ministry of Information and World Bank, held over the weekend at the Golden Tulip, a $500,000 free internet connection was unveiled by the Bank for Universities, Colleges and schools to further emphasise the importance of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and its effect on education.
The World Bank Country manager Perminda Brar while announcing the project said the government is going to make fibre available to educational institutions and the Bank will “pour in the capital investment needed for making internet available”.
Brar disclosed that “ten universities, tertiary institutions and ten academically well performing schools in the country will be targeted”. The first phase will cover Njala, MMCET, FBC and other universities and schools.
Brar said this is a huge investment in rolling out the fibre back bone on an East West axis as well as the North-South Axis “so we have fibre running from Liberia to Guinea and from Freetown to Zimmi then to the Liberia border. Fibre is already here now and it is time for Sierra Leoneans to benefit from this investment”.
The visiting Executive Director for Sierra Leone on the Boards of the World Bank Group Dr. Louis Rene Lacrose said through a telecommunication system “we can communicate certainly within Africa, our country and the rest of the world”.
He said “for the Bank, good communication system is part of our sustainable developments goals”. He congratulated the government for making sure the country enjoys this “worldwide investment.”
He added that at this time people should be able to communicate faster, efficiently and bring down the cost of business and most of all “be connected to the rest of the world”.
Rene Lacrose assured all that as the country’s representative to the World Bank, as “we are in the Golden Tulip hotel be rest assured of a Golden endorsement from me.  I assure you of 100% support to all projects”.
Henry Kerali WB Country Director for Liberia, Ghana and Sierra Leone said the Bank sees “development of Sierra Leone as one of our key commitment not only to the people of Sierra Leone but to the world”.
He went on, looking at the level of internet access in Sierra Leone, it still has a long way to come up to the average of the ECOWAS countries. With the new facilities, this gap that we have will begin to close. Our objective is to deliver services to the people at an affordable rate to achieve greater access of ICT for the people of Sierra Leone” Kerali noted.
The Minister of Information and Communications Mohamed Bangura thanked the World Bank for their gesture, saying this will not be the end to ask for support as they will keep on knocking on the doors of the Bank.
He added that ICT should be the bread basket of the country as minerals have failed but that with ICT “you will not get it wrong.” He disclosed that, “this project will be completed within five to six months.
Memunatu Pratt of the Sierra Leone Research and Education Network and lecturer of the University of Sierra Leone said the network is concerned with creating internet network linking of all universities in Sierra Leone to academic institutions across the world.
She maintained that education becomes viable because of access to internet and globalised information. At the 21st Century she noted, “some students leave the universities without access to even computer and that is a serious problem.” She thanked the Bank and the Government for the venture.
By Betty Milton
Monday August 15, 2016

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