The Chief Technical Officer of Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB), Abdul Rahman Wurie, yesterday received documents, equipment, vehicles, plants and materials from the Project Coordinator of the ECOWAS Regional Backbone Infrastructure & e-Governance Programme (ECOWAN Sierra Leone Project), Sahr Momodu Sewah, as part of the handing over process.
This historic event took place at ECOWAN office on the 5th Floor, Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Building, Lightfoot Boston Street.
It could be recalled that the ECOWAS ICT Minister in 2010 adopted the implementation strategy for the actualization of the ECOWAN project as a way of improving the poor national backbone and cross-border connectivity within and between ECOWAS Member States.
The Government of Sierra Leone requested for funds from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) on 29th October 2010 for the implementation of the segment of the ECOWAS Regional Backbone Infrastructure & e-Governance Program – ECOWAN Sierra Leone in the country.
The Board of IDB approved the financing of the ECOWAN Sierra Leone Project on 2nd May 2011 and the overall cost of the project was estimated at USD 28.27 million, of which IDB should provide up to USD24.53 million under a combined Istisna’a of USD 20.35 and Loan of USD 4.18 million, while the Government of Sierra Leone should provide a counterpart contribution of USD 3.74 million.
According to the ECOWAN Project Coordinator, Sahr Momodu Sewah, the project was implemented across 15 localities including Waterloo, Masiaka, Mile 91, Moyamba Junction, Taiama, Njala University-Mokondeh, Bo, Njala University- Bo Campus, Kenema, Eastern Polytechnic, Joru, Zimmi, Gendema, Rogbere Junction, Port Loko, Port Loko Teachers’ College, Kambia, Gbalamuya, Fourah Bay College, COHMAS, Milton Margai College, Lumley Landing Station, Leicester Peak and Jui O&M.
He disclosed that the objectives of the project is to deepen regional and national socio economic integration, facilitate regional and national trade and innovation by improving ICT connectivity infrastructure in Sierra Leone to ensure the country is linked to the region as part of the ECOWAN program, and support economic growth, help reduce poverty and improve the living conditions of the population of Sierra Leone through better access to ICTs.
“The specific objectives of the project were to design, develop and deploy 660 km of fiber optic backhaul from Freetown to Zimmi (border with Liberia) and from Freetown to Gbalamuya Customs (border with Guinea); provide WiMAX last mile infrastructure for interconnecting ECOWAS local institutions and Government Ministries, Departments & Agencies; and contribute towards minimizing the cost of access to broadband services, widening the geographic scope of access to broadband services and reducing unreliability in wired and wireless networks.
Among the items handed over includes 23 lease agreements, 1 MOU, 7 Vehicle owner’s registration card, spare keys for vehicles, 1 book and 19 leaves of FIB check book, certificate for completion acceptance among others.
Receiving the items and documents on behalf of SALCAB, the Chief Technical Officer of the Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB), Abdul Rahman Wurie, expressed thanks and appreciation to the ECOWAN Project Coordinator and his team for their hard work in seeing the project through to the present stage.
He furthered that SALCAB will do everything possible within their reach to take the project to higher height and extend it to other areas across the country to ensure nation wide distribution, adding that they will ensure to sustain the project for the betterment of the nation.
The programme climaxed with the signing off and the handing over of documents by both parties in the presence of members of the media.
By Alhaji M Kamara
Wednesday January 11, 2017