100 Achievements of Liberia’s ICT Sector: From 2007-2016

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About a decade ago, there was very little Information and Communications Technology or ICT presence in Liberia. The country at the time was a nation emerging from a horrific civil war with a totally emasculated population hoping for change and a better Liberia. While other countries in West Africa and around the world had gone ahead to join the Information superhighway, Liberia remained a nation whose development had been reversed 50 years. But, the advent of a new government not only dawned a new day for the West African nation, but it also kindled new hopes for the Liberian people.

The year 2007 was the beginning of what would subsequently be a new Liberia; a Liberia striving for modernity by leveraging every opportunity that emerged. One of those opportunities was the inevitable infusion of ICTs in the country. This was the result of the “brain gain” from the Diaspora that blitz the country as the new government took over. This “brain gain” began a paradigm shift that created Liberia’s ICT sector and the entire environment in which we live and work today.

Almost a decade later (2007-2016), there has been inarguably a phenomenal evolution across Liberia’s ICT spectrum. From little or nothing, to ATM machines at banks, high-speed Internet access provided through undersea optical fiber cable system, online banking, telemedicine, eLearning, unified communications, the list goes on. In today’s article, I make an honest effort to list 100 things that have been achieved in or through Liberia’s ICT sector. And based on what I have listed and my experience working in the sector, I can state safely, emphatically and unequivocally that, the ICT sector is the MOST PROGRESSIVE SECTOR of all sectors in Liberia. You are free to differ with my opinion, of course!

Below is a list of 100 things that have been achieved in Liberia since 2007. The list is not exhaustive, because a lot of things were/are/being done in silos or isolation. But undoubtedly, significant progress has been made in Liberia’s ICT sector since 2007.

List of 100 Things Achieved in/by Liberia’s ICT Sector (2007-2016)
The passing of the Telecommunications Act of 2007
The designation of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications as “Policy Maker”
The formation and designation of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority designated as “Regulator”
The designation of Liberia Telecommunications Corporation changed to LIBTELCO as “National Operator”
The development of the National Telecommunication and ICT Policy 2010-2015
Liberia held its first ICT Conference in January 2007
The development of the Emansion.Gov.Lr website
Policy on the Use of .Gov.Lr domain
Proposed e-Government Strategy
Liberian Government’ e-Government program
The development of eLiberia: National Web Portal-One-stop shop for government services
The formation of the Cable Consortium
The landing of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) Submarine optical fiber cable
Over 45 Ministries, Agencies and Commissions are currently connected to the ACE fiber optic system
The establishment of the Liberian Internet Exchange Point
Establishment of the Project Management Office (e-Government)
Establishment of the Chief Information Office and the CIO-Regime
Development of the Digital Migration Plan and Policy
The Introduction of the International Gateway Monitoring System by LTA
LTA allocated 8 FM frequencies, 26 HF frequencies, 29 VHF frequencies and 26 UHF frequencies. All of these frequencies allocated cover several parts of the country.
LTA introduces TCI Spectrum Monitoring System to detect interfering and unauthorized RF transmissions, monitor emergency frequencies, etc.
Liberian Business Registry (Registering business online)
More Smart Phones are available in Liberian than pre-2007
Liberia’s “Biometric” passport system
Biometrics Personnel Systems at Government Institutions
The development of the Government of Liberia’s Enterprise Interoperability Framework
The Development of the Government of Liberia’s ICT Handbook
Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) eProcurement Platform
The National Policy on Tower sharing
The E-government web strategy
The E-government Web Development Toolkit
Liberia’s Universal Access Program
National Backbone Feasibility Study was conducted
Development and deployment of Integrated Financial Information Management System (IFMIS)
The establishment of West Africa Telecom (not in operation)
The establishment of Novafone
The Bureau of Customs’ ASYCUDA system
The introduction Online Radio Stations
Liberia’s E-Health (Electronic Health) program
E-Banking (Online Banking)
E-Commerce, Banjoo, Shopbiz, etc
Modern Technologies are being used in schools including smart boards, wireless networks,
Increased awareness and use of Open Source Software
Regular technology articles in Newspapers. I.e. Liberia Daily Observer Technology Column
Liberians began using of the second level domains: .edu.lr, .org.lr, .gov.lr, .com.lr, etc
The advent and continuous presence of iLab
Liberian Movie production makes it to Youtube
Technology is being used in churches (projectors, computers, etc)
Over 70 Ministries, Agencies and Commission have websites
Over 50 MACs have a basic ICT infrastructure
The establishment of the Government of Liberia’s Mini-Shared Services Center at LTA
The development of the Government of Liberia’s Enterprise Architecture document
B A Digital Liberia- By Dr. Darren Wilkins
Book written: Broadband Coming- By Dr. Lionel Bernard
The establishment of STARZ College
The establishment of NITT
The establishment of Interdigital Computing servcies
The establishment of Mwetana ICT solutions
The establishment of HAK Technologies
The establishment of Sahara Technology Solutions
The establishment of Stargate Technologies
The establishment of RoviaGate Technology
The establishment of Dynamic Global Technology
The establishment of Constellation Inc.
Unmil Radion Station’s “TECHNOLOGY WORLD” program which broadcasts nationally.
Digital Driver’s License System
Digital Birth Certificate System
LIBTELCO’s CLASS and IMAGINE programs (STEM and Innovation driven initiatives)
Pan-African E-Network (Distance/Online Learning-Indian Institute of Technology)
JFK’s Telemedicine program
DHIS (Ministry of Health)
Automated Teller Machines at banks
POS at Supermarkets and other stores
Asset Management System at GSA
Concession Management Information System
Use of emails to collaborate in Government
Electronic Jobs advertisement
Electronic Bid Advertisement
Online Tax Information (LRA)
Formation of the Internet Society Chapter of Liberia
National Elections Results are placed online
The establishment of Online Newspapers and Magazines
Liberia Legal Information Institute (online database for legal documents) http://www.liberlii.org/
Ministry of Labor’s Online Work Permit System
Online Corruption and Abuse reporting system
The development of the Central Bank’s data center (a modern data center)
The use of Mobile Money
Unified Communications (Video, Voice, Data converged)
Orange purchases CELLCOM
MTN purchases part of Lonestar Cell
MTN Purchases Novafone
Cellcom introduces LTE Network (4G)
LIBTELCO ran CDMA for several years (CDMA has been discontinued)
LIBERCELL which operated as Mobile Network Operator shut down its operations.
Bluecrest University began a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology Program
LISGIS conducted mapping of upper Monrovia
The Government of Liberia, Google, and the USAID announced that Google will deploy a modern high-speed network in Monrovia, leveraging the ACE undersea optical fiber cable.
The use of VISA and Discovery cards in Liberia
School Information System (allows parents to view their child’s/children’s grades online).
The use of Enterprise Resource Planning Software/System (ERP)

As I mentioned above, this list is not exhaustive. But the 100 achievements listed above is an indication that Liberia has made progress toward modernity. The future of ICT in Liberia is closely related to the number of obstacles that we can tackle. If we managed to achieve the 100 things listed above in 10 years with the little that we had, then we now know that, given the right amount of resources, we can do even better.

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