Internet Govenance in Sierra Leone

Saturday 4 September 2010

BY: Sahr F. Gborie

COUNTRY:

Sierra Leone situated along the West Coast of Africa. Has a population of about Six million people.

SIERRA LEONE DECADE LONG WAR

As Sierra Leone recovers from a decade long war that officially ended in 2001, the country has been left with a huge rebuilding task and numerous—challenges.

THE VISION 2025

The Government. adopted a prudent course of action while it prepared a national vision for long-term development. On March 15th 2001 the vision 2025 project was launched with the objective “to create a prosperous society that cares about people and the environment”

THE NICI PROCESS IN SIERRA LEONE

The National Information and Communication Infrastructure (NICI) policy and plans for Sierra Leone were commissioned by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) as part of its technical assistance to the Government of Sierra Leone under the auspices of the African Information Society Initiative (AISI)

The National Information and Communication Infrastructure (NICI) process in Sierra Leone was initiated with the vision of using “Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a tool for sustainable socioeconomic development and accelerated poverty reduction in Sierra Leone.” At the time the objective was “to enhance the success of the nation’s poverty reduction strategy and the Vision 2025 by leveraging ICT tools and providing the citizens with greater choices for improving their standard of living.”

Name of ISP

- AFCOM
- Comium
- IPTEL
- Limeline
- Sierra Tel
- Zain

In country Internet connectivity

In country, Internet connectivity now appears to be available where there is a mobile phone signal that is over more than 70 % and possibly much more of the country.

Several mobile phone operators offer general packet radio service (GPRS) and Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) services which are low to medium broadband IP data services available using GSM technology.

Sierra Leone Internet penetration ratio

According to Internet World Statistics http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

  • Sierra Leone is at 0.3%

Reasons

  • Lack of national broadband strategy: connecting the provincial and district centres
  • Lack of ICT Education Policy,
  • High cost of digital electronics devices,
  • High cost of high speed internet connectivity,
  • Lack of a reliable and sustainable national IP Network,
  • The poor infrastructural development such as the frequent power cut or no power at all.
  • The lack of technical skills especially on software.
  • The low availability of funds.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Regulatory reform to encourage fair and open competition and a level playing field in the ICT market place
  • Develop a national broadband policy emphasizing infrastructure sharing and the reduction of costs of infrastructure.
  • Promote open access policies for infrastructure use
  • Strengthen NATCOM, so that it should secure the air waves and take full control of national and international networks traffic in and out of the country to make sure proper fees are paid and the network is secured at all time.
  • Work with other regional and international entities to share expertise and to adopt common policies to encourage regional integration and interoperability of networks and applications
  • Setup national broadband strategy: connecting the provincial and district centres
  • Develop a policy to encourage all civil servants to acquire basic computer skills
  • Strengthen local computer and Internet use and access facilities