By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)
Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), Tim Unwin, has commended President Ernest Bai Koroma’s leadership in developing information, communication and technology (ICT) in Sierra Leone.
“President Koroma’s leadership in driving ICT has been crucial to the development of Sierra Leone,” said Unwin, while giving a brief welcome address yesterday at the formal opening of the 7th annual CRC (Connecting Rural Communities) Africa Forum 2012 at the Miatta Conference Hall, Youyi Building, Brookfields, Freetown.
Unwin said he easily noticed the changes that have taken place since his first visit to Sierra Leone in 2009.
“Things are progressing; the country is going through an amazing period of change. The President’s Agenda for Change is clear in many ways than one. The last time I was here there was no ATM facility, but now there is ATM everywhere. There’s marked improvement in digital as well as physical infrastructure; yes there are one or two pot holes at the road to Country Lodge, but generally the changes taking place are positive,” said Unwin.
Speaking on the theme of the forum: ‘The road to rural broadband: making the economics work’, Unwin said technology would not reduce inequalities. He said the gap between those who have technology and those who did not was getting bigger and bigger.
“That’s why we are here; to find out ways to bridge that gap and to apply the results of our deliberations across Commonwealth countries,” said Unwin.
He said connectivity was not just enough to deliver on the benefits of ICT, but it’s a journey to be taken step by step, building on the experiences of each Commonwealth country and how, together, the solutions could be delivered to everyone including those in the rural areas.
“We have to make a commitment,” Unwin challenged the forum of ICT stakeholders. “We are not here just to talk. We are also here to act. We have to agree to do things differently from what we have been used to do. We must be committed to make a difference in the lives of not only Sierra Leoneans, but across the Commonwealth.”
Furthermore, Unwin challenged the forum to think about ways to use ICT to support those with disabilities.
Meanwhile, as Chairman of the ICT Council, President Ernest Bai Koroma has reportedly never absent from any of its meetings, an indication of his commitment to the development of ICT in his country.