NCRA, MoCTI Sign MoU to Develop Data Exchange Layer in Support of E-Governance

National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) .jpg

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

In a pivotal moment for Sierra Leone’s digital landscape, the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) and the Ministry of Communication, Technology, and Innovation (MoCTI)  signed a Memorandum of Understanding, earmarked as a cornerstone for advancing digital governance. The signing ceremony took place in the MoCTI Conference Room, Youyi Building on the 10th May, 2024. Present were Senior Management from both institutions, representatives from various MDAs and key figures from the Presidential Delivery Unit and other stakeholders.

The significant event not only reinforces intergovernmental collaboration between the two pivotal entities but also lays a robust foundation for future partnerships with other crucial stakeholders in data sharing and protection.

Salima Bah, Minister of Communication, Technology, and Innovation (MoCTI) briefly spoke with rigor about the essential nature of the partnership noting the foundational role of data identification. She stated, “Initiating our efforts with the NCRA is a strategic move. Data is the bedrock of digital governance, and streamlining access across services is critical to our collective success.”

In his statement the Director General the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) , Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi, emphasized the importance of the occasion, marking a pivotal moment in Sierra Leone’s journey towards a digitally empowered society. He pointed out how the collaboration between NCRA and MoCTI signifies a strategic commitment to revolutionizing national digital frameworks, placing “Identity at the Centre” to enhance governance, accountability and efficiency.

Dilating on driving efficiency through collaboration, Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi, intimated the audience that historically, bureaucratic barriers and fragmented data systems have hindered service delivery and eroded public trust.

He posited that, however, with the signing of the MoU, Sierra Leone is breaking free from traditional silos, embracing synergy over isolation adding how by synchronizing data systems and digital processes, the collaboration aims to streamline governance, eliminate redundancies, and prioritize citizen-centric service delivery.

Touching on introducing the Data Exchange Layer (DEL), the NCRA Director General underscored that at the heart of the collaborative effort lies the Data Exchange Layer (DEL), which he said is a revolutionary infrastructure facilitating secure inter-agency communication.

He furthered how the DEL represents a paradigm shift in data management, ensuring seamless transmission of vital information across Government departments. According to him, by consolidating data streams, the DEL promises to enhance operational efficiency and bolster service delivery standards.

Highlighting NCRA’s role in Digital Governance he informed how the institution plays a central role in the initiative, dedicated to unifying and standardizing Sierra Leonean identities.  He pointed out that through the issuance of National Identification Numbers (NINs), NCRA not only provides identification but also opens doors to various services and opportunities.

As custodians of data integrity, he said, NCRA pledges to uphold security and confidentiality standards, fostering a transparent and citizen-centric Government.

Delving on the benefits of the DEL he emphasized how it promises a host of benefits, including enhanced interoperability, improved data security, streamlined operations, data-driven decision-making, and increased transparency and accountability.

He said the benefits signify a transformative leap towards a digitally empowered Sierra Leone.

Expressing a vision for the future, Director General Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi stressed that the signing of the MoU is more than a ceremonial act underscoring how it symbolizes Sierra Leone’s commitment to digital innovation and inclusive governance.

He maintained that guided by visionary leadership, Sierra Leone aims to become a trailblazer in digital governance, prioritizing citizen-centric service delivery and operational excellence.

Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi ended by stating that as Sierra Leone embarks on the transformative journey, NCRA is inviting steadfast support to shape a future where technology drives progress and prosperity.  He asserted that together, Sierra Leoneans can realize the vision of a digitally empowered nation, where digital identity is a fundamental right and inclusivity prevails.

On his part the Director of Information Communication and Technology at NCRA, Alieu Kallon, expressed the meticulous coordination with MoCTI counterparts to crystallize roles and responsibilities enshrined in the MOU. He unveiled that the NCRA will serve as the primary host for identity data, facilitated by its cutting-edge Tier-3 Primary Data Center which will provide MDAs with essential data hosting services, establishing a new benchmark for efficiency and accessibility.

Kumba Musa, an ICT specialist at MoCTI, highlighted the intrinsic necessity for institutions to have the capability to share data seamlessly, noting: “At the heart of digital governance is the critical need for interoperability  that allows for secure and streamlined data sharing across platforms—a cornerstone concept that drove this initiative.”

The strategic alliance is set to redefine the interactions between the NCRA and key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), enhancing identity verification, securing data exchanges and bolstering the entire digital service delivery framework. Leveraging local data hosting and robust fiber connectivity, the initiative promises to heighten both privacy and the reliability of digital services.

From the deliberations  it is deduced that the path forward for Sierra Leone’s digital governance looks promising indeed, with the MOU laying the groundwork for a more connected, efficient and transparent Government interaction framework.

The event marks a significant stride towards realizing a digitally empowered Sierra Leone, driven by integrity, innovation and inclusivity.



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