Adrian Q. Labor ([log in to unmask])
Mike Jensen; Jeffery Cochrane; Rosa Delgado; Kerry Gallivan; Daniel Chaytor
& Sierranet Team; Eric Holst-Roness & Holron Computing team; Feyi
Jones-Asgil, Bob Barad & Securicom Team; Kerry Gallivan; CASL Executive
Members. Frank Jarrett & Telecom Managers; Ogunlade Davidson & SALSTINET
Radcliffe Lisk & Medical College Library Team (COMAHS); May-Parker & IPAM
Computer Studies lecturers; Deana Thomas, Nancy N'jamtu-sie, Gladys
Jusu-sheriff & other university library professionals .
"There is no such thing as a little country the greatness of the people is
determined by there number than the greatness of a person is determined by
his/her height" Victor Hugo.
Sierra Leone's ICT development is a challenge and one that those of us
cited above (to name a few) would not shy away from. The fact is ICT
development in Africa is time dependent and it is essential that Sierra
Leone is positioned in the right place at the right time to evovle the ICT
development process through homegrown efforts and appropriate internvention
by international development efforts or private sector investment.
This challenge is an opportunity brilliantly disguised as an insoluble
problem and the solution lies in the hands of the first few and long
standing consultants, computer engineers, entrepenuers, telecom experts,
network sysops, information brokers etc on the scene. Collectivelly we know
enough to table priorities in Sierra Leone's ICT development and produce a
guide to an infrastructure, policy, technology strategy for ICT-enabled
applications to take root. We need a National Strategy that is appropriate
to the needs of our local situation, maxmizes the assistance (not just $)
from International development organization and provides investment
opportunites to boost Sierra Leone's economic situation.
Of the 54 nations on the continent, 33 nations including Sierra Leone
successfully developed some form
of low cost dialup store and forward email services with a gateway to the
Internet. Myself, Daniel Chaytor,
Feyi Jones-Asgil, Bob Barad and Jeffery Cochrane can testify that it
happened in Sierra Leone simply because we saw a window of opportunity and
siezed the initiative. We had to prove it was possible in Sierra Leone.
There are numerous initiatives/private sector investment on ICT in Africa
in which Sierra Leone among others have simply missed out because of the
lack of information of what is possible. 20 African Countries have already
made the transition to IP connectivity and to some degree. We are among 8
countries with IP plans but we may need to look for a window of opportunity
and sieze the initiative once again.
We must address this information gap to ensure of INTERNET services and a
whole lot of other ICT-enabled services can be successfully established in
the first place and in an affordable and appropriate fashion.
Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Mozambique and a host of other
countries have developed national ICT development strategies. This is a
wealth of information to work from while we evolve one for Sierra Leone but
we still need one in place and in time.
A window of opportunity
The issue of Internet Service is being tackled again this MARCH 97 by the
telecom Sierratel. It would be
an appropriate time to deal with fundamental issues of Infrastrucuture,
Policy, Technology tools,
and roles of actors and necessary partnerships. Actors include government
departments and parastatals, civil society, private sector, academic&
research community, professional association, the international development
community and international private sector. The output of a workshop can
form the basis of a guide to evovling a strategy or the strategy itself
depending on the preparation time and scope of the participants.
Any and all Interest in making such an activity possible is welcome. Please
respond via this email
[log in to unmask] Mike Jensen, Jeffery Cochrane, Bob Barad, Rosa.Delgado and
thank you for joining us in showing what was and is possible in Sierra
Leone. Look forward to working
with you once again.
Furthermore, subscribe to the following mailing list
[log in to unmask] (subscribe Acacia-l Your Name) where the
fundamental issues on ICT and African Development are undergoing critical
anaylsis. The Acacia Initiative is an international effort to empower
sub-saharan African comunities with the ability to apply information and
communication technologies to their own social and economic development.
This Canadian Initiative is being developed by a team of International
Development Research Centre staff at the regional office in Senegal, Kenya,
South Africa and headquarter in Canada (http://www.idrc.ca/acacia)
Adrian Q. Labor
Acacia Team Member.