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Liberia Launches 5-Yr ICT Policy

By Precious D. Freeman
The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has launched a five-year National Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy.
The policy runs from 2019-2024 under the theme; Accelerating Digital Transformation in challenging times.
Making the disclosure at the celebration of World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD), the Minister for Post and Telecommunications Cooper W. Kruah explained that the launching of ICT Policy is a milestone achievement which sets the roadmap for Liberia’s ICT sector.
He stated that May 17 marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU.
According to him, the policy seeks to support economic development through fully integrated ICT that will ensure total social inclusion for all Liberians adding that the ICT environment is an emerging one, as such the growth and sustainability of its requires an updated policy that encourages all stakeholders to play a committed role in areas of infrastructure development, broad internet development, human capacity and digital skills, content development, update and strategic use of services and products, online safety and privacy, quality of service and efficiency of broadband networks and social inclusion of all citizens.
“In support of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) the ICT objectives and in building on the initial framework established by the 2010 ICT policy, this policy develops a strategy and vision to further our position as an information society and knowledgeable economy by 2023 and a middle-income country by 2030” he stated.
Minister Kruah explained that this policy focuses on driving the implementation of a vision of Liberia transformed society underpinned by a strong ICT ecosystem and is therefore structured around fifteen thematic areas, which seek to provide all stakeholders across government, private sectors, civil society and communities with a clear roadmap to drive economic, social cultural and political transformation through the effective use of ICT.
“Generally our ICT vision remains cross-cutting which is about making commerce transparent and efficient, also making health services more accessible, making education to meet the needs of everyone, implementing e-Government standard and bringing about improved governance” he mentioned.
He further stated that the gathering is a form of awareness that will enable stakeholders to effectively propagate the importance of this policy in the communities which will also aid the implementation of the national ICT policy with focus on enhancing internal operations across governments and also facilitating service delivery to the public.
He thanked President George M. Weah for signing the ICT Policy with a mission which is, “To enable fully integrated Information Communication Technologies that support economic development and social inclusion for all Liberians.”
According to the Mission Director for USAID, Sara R. Walter, the development of ICT continues to have extraordinary impact in nearly every aspect of human life, affecting organizations as well as nations, adding that ICT has been noted as one of the sectors that is a major contributor to many countries including Liberia.
She added that ICT sector has been recognized as an enabler of social economic development which prompted the need to update the 2010 policy to make it relevant to the current exigencies of the state and in support of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development PAPD 2018-2023.
“As a nation, Liberia is privileged to have a National ICT Policy whose goal is to create a prosperous ICT-driven Liberian society, with a young and growing ICT sector which are assured of better livelihoods of our people attainable through the availability of accessible, efficient, reliable and affordable ICT services” she said.
She stated that the government of Liberia being cognizant of the need to provide the necessary ICT infrastructure have made investments in ensuring last mile connectivity and the connection to the Africa Coast to Europe submarine optical fiber cable for broadband connectivity is evidence of this.
Madam Walter congratulated the Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications for the successful launch of the ICT Policy at the celebration of World Telecommunications Day.
She pointed out that, “The task now is to ensure that it is effectively implemented so that it achieves its goals as they say, to accomplish great things, we must not only plan, but also act; not only dream, but also believe.”
The USAID Mission Director furthered, “We have a great plan. We must now act with belief and purpose to ensure its successful implementation”.
She continue, “In many ways, the National ICT policy for Liberia that we are launching today fits the bill, it aims to expand existing ICT infrastructure and establish a national fiber optic backbone to connect all 15 counties capitals and enhance cross-border connectivity”.
She said the policy is focused on addressing last mile challenges to ensure universal access to voice services and broadband, supported by the adoption of infrastructure sharing.
“It supports human capacity building and local innovation in science, digital skills and technology that lead to the creation of new jobs” she added.
May 17 each year is celebrated as World Telecommunications Day, it marks the founding of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the signing of the first International telegraph convention in 1865. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos.
Meanwhile, the President of the University of Liberia (UL) , Dr. Julius Nelson Jr. also expressed gratitude to the Ministry for it milestone achievement on the ICT Policy launched and used the occasion to announce that the UL will begin it Bachelor of Science degree in ICT next academic year while students are currently using e-learning at the UL.

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