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Sierra Leone News: Rohima joins rest of the world via Orange

Residents of Rohima, Komrabai, Lokomassama Chiefdom, Port Loko District had to travel 12 miles to Kafubulom Chiefdom in search of network in order to make a simple phone call. The cost and the discomfort to communicate for business, emergencies or social had been costly on the locals of this pastoral community.So, when Orange/Airtel on Thursday officially commissioned its transmission mast at the Rohima section it was welcomed by chiefdom authorities and constituents with open arms.
Paramount Chief Bai Moro Lamin Angbathor II, explained that Kafubulum is the biggest Chiefdom in Port Loko District with 368 towns and villages and a population that exceeds 100,000. The PC noted, “The chiefdom had been suffering to communicate…” due to lack of mobile network connection.However, he explained that with the erection of a transmission mast in Rohima one “…can now make phone call from his bedroom.” The PC also explained that he is delighted because pupils can now have access to the internet with mobile phones or computers.Deputy Minister of Information and Communication, Cornelius Deveaux, appealed to Orange/Airtel to provide internet service to the secondary schools in the chiefdom “…this would put them at the same level with their colleagues in Freetown,” he said. The Deputy Minister referred to taking mobile communications to rural communities as the “last mile solution”. The last mile solution is huge and capital intensive. He said, “government is not a businessman”, that is why government has created the enabling environment so that companies like Orange/Airtel would be able to thrive without hindrance.Native of Rohima, Hon. Binneh Bangura, member of Oversight Committee on Information and Communication in Parliament, explained that this is one of his greatest achievements as a Parliamentarian. “If I’m in Parliament for ten years and we don’t have phone network, then I have nothing to be proud of,” he said.Orange Group Africa, Chief Operations Officer (COO) Jea,n Marc Vignolles, explained that the launch is “the first of our 33 new sites this year.” He said, “the economic importance of enabling access to basic telecommunications service is critical for development, yet such access is still unobtainable by many in our continent. Orange believes that communication is a basic right, not a privilege and we believe bringing affordable access to information and communications to underserved communities strengthens cultures and promotes commerce and social participation.” The COO added “We strive to provide a communications platform that will facilitate universal and affordable access to information – this is where our modernization and expansion plans comes in. The Orange approach is the catalyst that will broaden the communication gap in rural Sierra Leone.” Orange Sierra Leone Chief Executive Officer, Sekou Darame, explained, “Earlier this year, we announced the launch of our network modernization plan and pledge to invest $33m to expand our network and services in Sierra Leone. Today we see that promise becoming a reality as the Orange family is here in Rohima, Koomrabai to formally launch this site.”  OG/17/6/17
By Ophaniel Gooding
Monday June 19, 2017.

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