September 18, 2023:
Minister Worlea-Saywah Dunah and team of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications have concluded a week-long engagement on improving ICT connectivity, digitization and discussion on the provision of a second submarine fiber cable known as the Amilcar Cabral Project which is supported by the World Bank with the World Bank Mission team of experts from Washington DC led by Country Manager Georgia Wallen on Friday, September 15, 2023, in Monrovia, Liberia.
The series of engagements kicked off on Monday, September 11, 2023, at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications with an assessment meeting on the needs of the telecommunications, ICT and digital services in Liberia and preliminary technical meetings with the Ministry technical team followed by a technical workshop and wrap up technical session at the Ministry.
In welcoming the team to Liberia, Minister Dunah highlighted several key areas of urgent assistance which includes the urgent need for a second submarine fiber cable, the construction of fiber ring to cover the country, the need for a backbone connectivity and digital transformation of the Liberian economy as well as digital migration of services in the country.
He further pledged his leadership firm and strong support in working with the World Bank and partners in ensuring that Liberia is integrated fully into the technological advancement.
For her part, the Country Manager, Madam Wallen stated that the purpose of the mission is to assess and explore the areas of cooperation and support to strengthen and accelerate Liberia’s digitalization program beginning with the support to the Amilcar Cabral Submarine Cable Project which is designed for five countries within the ECOWAS subregion. According to Madam Wallen the project is supported by the World Bank for the countries of Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia; all of these countries have a single access submarine cable which makes it risky for dependable internet connectivity.
In continuation of the engagement with the mission, on Tuesday, September 12, a technical workshop was held at the Mamba Point Hotel with participants from Liberia Telecommunications Authority, the Central Bank and all commercial banks in Liberia, the mobile network operators, the Liberia Telecommunication Corporation (LIBTELCO) and other internet service providers.
At the opening session of the high-level technical workshop, the World Bank both Minister Dunah and Country Manager, Wallen, expressed the urgent need for support to Liberia for the building of its ICT infrastructures and connectivity respectively, including the building of human and technical capacity aimed at putting Liberia on par with global ICT advancement reality in which Liberia is set to benefit from the World Bank. Some of the requests made by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for intervention include:
1. Amilcar Cabral Submarine Cable Project: The World Bank’s support will facilitate the implementation of this critical project, enhancing Liberia’s connectivity to the global internet network. This submarine cable project will significantly improve internet access, speed, and reliability across the country.
2. Fiber Optic Backbone: The establishment of a fiber optic backbone infrastructure will lay the foundation for a robust and high-speed digital network throughout Liberia. This infrastructure will enable seamless communication and data transfer, empowering individuals, businesses, and institutions across the country.
3. Formulation of a New National ICT Policy: With the World Bank’s assistance, the Ministry will develop a comprehensive National ICT Policy that aligns with global best practices. This policy will guide the strategic development and implementation of digital technologies in Liberia, fostering innovation, inclusivity, and economic growth.
4. Passage of the Cybercrime Law: The Ministry, in collaboration with the World Bank, will work towards the passage of a robust Cybercrime Law. This legislation will safeguard the digital ecosystem, protect individuals and businesses from cyber threats, and promote a secure digital environment for all Liberians.
5. Validation of the Patent Protection Framework: The Ministry, with the World Bank’s support, will validate a patent protection framework to encourage innovation and protect intellectual property rights within Liberia. This framework will foster an environment conducive to technological advancements and attract investment in the digital sector.
6. Revision of e-Government Strategy: The collaboration with the World Bank will enable the Ministry to revise and enhance the existing e-Government Strategy. This revised strategy will streamline government services, improve efficiency, and promote transparency through the utilization of digital technologies.
7. Capacity Building: The World Bank will provide support for capacity building initiatives, equipping individuals and institutions with the necessary skills and knowledge to leverage digital technologies effectively. This investment in human capital will empower Liberians to participate fully in the digital economy.
8. Logistical Support: The Ministry will receive logistical support from the World Bank to facilitate the implementation of various digital initiatives. This support will ensure smooth operations and efficient utilization of resources, maximizing the impact of the collaboration.
9. National Cybercrime Forensic Laboratory: The establishment of a National Cybercrime Forensic Laboratory, with the assistance of the World Bank, will strengthen Liberia’s ability to investigate and prosecute cyber-crimes. This facility
Will serve as a vital resource in combating cyber threats and ensuring a safe digital environment for all.
In conclusion, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of the Republic of Liberia and the World Bank are excited about the potential of this partnership to transform Liberia into a digital powerhouse. By leveraging digital technologies, Liberia will unlock new opportunities for economic growth, social development, and improved governance.
Mr. Nathon S. Bearngar
Director of Public Affairs
Ministry of Post and Telecommunications