At a joint press conference organised by the Ministry of Information and World Bank, the Bank unveiled a $500,000 free internet connection for Universities, Colleges and schools to further emphasize the importance of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and its effect on education. The World Bank Country manager Perminda Brar while announcing the project said the government is going to make fibre available to educational institutions and the Bank will “pour in the capital investment needed for making internet available”.
Brar said this is a huge investment in rolling out the fibre backbone on an East West axis as well as the North-South Axis “so we have fibre running from Liberia to Guinea and from Freetown to Zimmi then to the Liberia border. Fibre is already here now and it is time for Sierra Leoneans to benefit from this investment”.
Henry Kerali WB Country Director for Liberia, Ghana and Sierra Leone said the Bank sees “development of Sierra Leone as one of our key commitment not only to the people of Sierra Leone but to the world”. He went on, looking at the level of internet access in Sierra Leone, it still has a long way to come up to the average of the ECOWAS countries. With the new facilities, this gap that we have will begin to close. Our objective is to deliver services to the people at an affordable rate to achieve greater access of ICT for the people of Sierra Leone” Kerali noted.
The Minister of Information and Communications Mohamed Bangura thanked the World Bank for their gesture, saying this will not be the end to ask for support as they will keep on knocking on the doors of the Bank. He added that ICT should be the breadbasket of the country as minerals have failed but that with ICT “you will not get it wrong.” He disclosed that, “this project will be completed within five to six months.