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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia The Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Hon. Sheka Tarawalie, (in photo) has told an extraordinary meeting of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) in Gaborone, Botswana that Sierra Leone “is now just a stone throw away from joining the international fiber experience of modern nations” and that “the county’s development is not only limited to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, but is being reflected in all other major sectors, including energy, agriculture and infrastructure”.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the conference on 9th March, 2012, Minister Tarawalie said “a quiet revolution is taking place in Sierra Leone under the leadership of His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, and you would all see it for yourselves in June” (an apparent reference to a scheduled CTO conference to be hosted in Freetown in June this year).
“The fact that this distinguished organisation is confident to have us host its members is a clear manifestation of the faith you have in the work we are doing in the telecoms industry,” he maintained.
Minister Tarawalie explained that, “having landed the fiber optic cable for the first time in Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Information and Communications under the able leadership of Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo is working hard to interconnect villages, towns and cities through the construction of the terrestrial backbone by the end of this year”.
He went on to elaborate that the reintroduction of railway services, though exclusively commercial at the moment, while being remarkable in itself through government’s strong partnership with the private sector, will greatly assist the ICT sector in interconnecting the country.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of the CTO, Professor Tim Unwin, said Sierra Leone is a great country that he is always excited to visit, while he commended the Ministry of Information and the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) in their efforts to improve the telecoms sector in Sierra Leone.
For his part, Botswana’s Minister of Transport and Communications, Hon. Nonofe E. Molefhi, who said he had visited Sierra Leone in the early 90s, was pleased with the good news coming from the country. He personalised his love for Sierra Leone by revealing that “even my tailor is from Sierra Leone. Even this suit I am wearing was sown by my Sierra Leonean tailor,” to a rapturous applause.
The extraordinary meeting dealt with proposals for core amendments to be made in the CTO Constitution.
Minister Tarawalie’s visit was preceded by a delegation from NATCOM that attended an E-Government Africa conference held at the same venue.
The Minster had earlier made a follow-up visit to Kigali, Rwanda, which is one of the countries chosen as a case-study of ICT development in Africa.
In Botswana, Minister Tarawalie found time to meet with 15 officers of the Sierra Leone Police who are currently doing various courses in Gaborone.
From Botswana, he made a stop-over visit in Nairobi, Kenya, where he met with Sierra Leoneans living there through Sierra Leone’s Consulate in Nairobi.
The Minister was accompanied by Mr. Gilbert Cooper, Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications.
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