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Sierra Leone News: Revamp the economy via ICT

Sierra Leone has incredible potential to move the needle of economic development through the integration of Information Communication Technology (ICT); in view of the fact that, ICT solutions have emerged as a vital tool to extend key services to underserved communities, complementing the efforts led by the governments and the private sector.
The rapid growth seen in the mobile telecoms market has done much to connect the capital Freetown to the provincial towns. A number of ICT firms and individuals have also implemented modern ICT technologies to conduct their businesses.A notable sector trend is the growth projection of the number of Internet users in Sierra Leone, which could reach a quarter of a million by 2010 and exceed one million by 2015, the policy predicts.
According to the policy, further growth would depend on an improvement of the country’s low literacy rate (currently circa 35%). Another trend that contributes to the growth of Internet usage is the rising number of Internet cafés accounting for the majority of Internet users (up to 80%).
Sierra Leone’s national ICT policy, which was drafted in 2004, states that Sierra Leone’s ICT successes have been periodic and the benefits lopsided even with sustained interest from several quarters of the ICT sector.
A meeting was recently held by the Ministry of Information and Communications with Permanent Secretaries and heads of Parastatals. At the meeting the state of internet service in Sierra Leone were discussed and also the importance of harnessing internet services by government offices for proper service delivery.
Information Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Patrick Sowa said, “This is the only tool we can use to revamp and change the economy… We should use ITC in transforming this economy and as a ministry responsible we are trying very hard to move in that direction so that we can transform this economy quickly,” Sowa averred.
He said, “Some of my colleagues… cannot even use a computer. When you talk about modern day management you have to be computer literate. There is no escaping this. If we are to move in this computer age and revamp this economy, then ICT tools are key.”
Sowa explained that the government has spent a lot of money in ensuring that internet services are available in MDAs, thus these offices should be using the service.
By Ophaniel Gooding
Friday August 09, 2018.

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