Liberia, Sierra Leone eye Nigeria’s ICT growth

Liberia’s Minister of Communications, Cooper Kruah and his Sierra Leonean counterpart, Mamadi Gobeh-Kamara, on Thursday in Abuja commended Nigeria over its tremendous ICT growth.

Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Pantami makes opening remarks at the 18th Annual General Meeting of the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly holding in Abuja, Nigeria. [Twitter/@FMoCDENigeria]

Sierra Leone’s Gobeh-Kamara noted the quantum leap in the number of Nigerians connected to the Internet and said his country would emulate Nigeria.

The number is very huge. My country has a population of just eight million people and the percentage for voice call was very low; but right now as I speak, there is a great improvement from where we met it.

“I listened to Nigeria’s Minister of Communications talk about regulations and policies put in place by the Nigerian government, which has helped the regulators to work effectively.

“These policies have also helped Nigeria to improve and develop its economy through regulations in ICT.

“As a country, Sierra Leone is also putting in place a framework for the regulators to function right.

“This conference has brought to focus how the dynamics of e-commerce will also help during crisis period like what we are going through right now.

“We believe that the regulatory authorities are supposed to lead the way; so this conference is important and I believe that each member state will leave here with something to take back home,’’ she said.

In his remarks, Liberia’s Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Kruah, stated that Liberia was currently working on its broadband penetration from Liberia to Cote d’Ivoire and to Guinea.

He said the country was also working on its second underwater cable.

Kruah said the Liberian government was taking communications very seriously, but noted that ICT’s contribution to the country’s GDP was still at low ebb because of dearth of infrastructure.

He assured that the Liberian government was, however, developing the infrastructure that would open new vistas and generate more revenue for government.

We are looking forward to the next five years where ICT will play a very significant role in contributing to our economy.

“The ICT sector and my ministry are trying to introduce financial postal services that will help our economy.

“We will have e-commerce taking place at each of those locations and that is a result of the encouragement we have received from WATRA,’’ he said.

He said also that with 80 per cent internet penetration, Liberia was not doing badly in the use of Broadband.

Speaking on the gains of the AGM, Kruah advised member states to encourage more women to participate at higher levels of national development.

“I saw the high level of participation of women at this particular conference and I think it should be encouraged by member states.

“WATRA is encouraging more women to participate in decision-making in the ICT sector to bridge existing gaps.

“In the past, women were either left behind or they were not encouraged to participate at higher levels in technical areas.

“This is important. We have two women at this particular meeting and I think those women should be given posts for every country not only for the country they came from,’’ Kruah said.

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