By Foday Moriba Conteh
Mohamed Rado Swarray, Minister of Information and Communications on the 12th March 2020 officially opened a two-day joint ICT/Telecom sector interactive session in Kenema on the theme, “Positioning Digital Transformation at the Heart of the New Direction”.
The aim of the joint sector interactive session is to enhance the Ministry’s medium term strategic goals and objectives, facilitate a more collaborative approach and build on the efforts currently underway to create a conducive policy and predictable regulatory environment for growth in the sector.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swarray stated that his Ministry, within the context of the New Direction programs of the government, envisions that by 2029, Sierra Leone will become a digitally inclusive society with ICT as the means to unleash the innate potentials of every citizen to leapfrog the country’s socio-economic development.
This vision, the Minister maintained is consistent with the ‘Leave No One Behind’ dream of the United Nations espoused in the Sustainable Development Goals and the ‘Africa we want’ principle of the African Union adopted in its 2063 Vision.
Referencing the 2015 National Population Census findings which indicated that 3.2 million people (46% of the total population), are young people between 6–24 years, the Information Minister stated that the key priority of the New Direction is to take advantage of the country’s youthful population to derive maximum benefit from the demographic dividend of the digital revolution.
Minister Mohamed Rahman Swarray further disclosed that the draft digital transformation policy and roadmap that seek to define the national objectives, strategies and strategic interventions in critical areas based on established thematic pillars of governance and coordination, digital infrastructure and access, digital skills and education, digital innovation and entrepreneurship, electronic governance and cyber security have been completed.
The roadmap, he explained, is aimed at guiding Sierra Leone’s investments, policies, and governance frameworks for the country’s present and future digital development direction.
It also aims at situating Sierra Leone among regional and global leaders in the field of digital governance focusing on effective service delivery, citizens’ engagement and a digital economy driven by innovation and entrepreneurship.
Statements by representatives of the key sector players including, Sierratel, Orange, Africell, Qcell, IMC, NATCOM and the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Communications formed the high points of the opening ceremony.
The opening ceremony which attracted participants from all ICT/Telecoms sector, Members of Parliament, CSOs and other stakeholders was chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications, Augustine S. Sheku.