Liberia Telecommunications Authority Chairman, Ivan Brown, has reiterated the Government of Liberia’s commitment to using ICT to achieve national developmental goals in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), a release from the LTA has said.
“This commitment is expressed through the PAPD. This recognizes access to information and is also critical for the improvement of life for the average Liberian,” Mr. Brown said.
At the just-ended Commonwealth Telecommunications Conference in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the LTA boss was part of telecom panel and invited to do a presentation on Liberia’s progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals as mandated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
During his presentation on the panel, Brown highlighted the Liberian government’s commitment to access to information, universal access to connectivity, cyber security, a strong national regulatory framework and cross-border frequency harmonization.
The LTA boss touched on the 37-mile deployment of the metro fiber ring around Monrovia and leading to Roberts International Airport. The deployment plan also includes the extension of fiber connectivity along all economic corridors connecting at borders with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. This, he explained, would provide redundancy to other sub-sea cables, should the need arise.
Such connectivity deployment is strategic to ensuring transparency and efficiency in government processes, contributes to data security, especially where revenue generation is concerned and serves as a major cost-reduction asset.
Chairman Brown also shared that Liberia’s cyber security strategy is now in place. The next step is to identify and establish relationship with a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) – a group of experts who respond to internet security vulnerabilities.
Brown also touched on Liberia’s national Universal Access Project (UAP), which aims to reach the underserved and unserved population with telecommunications access.
Liberia has already adopted a strategic plan, a regulatory framework and is launching pilot projects in selected rural areas during the current rainy season to test the viability.
Contributions, he explained, are coming in from service providers to facilitate the efforts and staff have been hired to oversee the implementation of the project. A rural telephone solution using low orbit satellite and television white space to facilitate broader coverage are being explored, along with solar powered solutions. Collaborative efforts on cross-border frequency harmonization and the important mention of the recently signed Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with Mano River Union nations to fine tune a roaming agreement that will introduce lower calling rates for the member nations.
Several LTA technical staff made the trip to Freetown with Chair Brown and Government and Consumer Affairs Commissioner, Israel Akinsanya. They met with their Sierra Leone counterparts and held productive discussions, exchanging ideas and strategies on bilateral telecommunications issues that will strengthen the region. The LTA intends to continue the regional engagements with staff to cull the best practices for possibly adoption and specific exchange to advance the sector.
According to the ITU, information and communication technologies (ICTs) can help accelerate progress towards every single one of the 17 SDGs.
“Efficient and affordable ICT infrastructure and services allow countries to participate in the digital economy and to increase their overall economic well-being and competitiveness,” the ITU says. “Most least developed countries are recording impressive progress towards SDG 9, with significant impact in the areas of financial inclusion, poverty reduction and improved health.”
It goes on to assert that ICT can help achieve results at scale and with remarkable efficiency, while empowering disenfranchised populations with opportunities for advancement through education and job creation. These populations include women and girls, people with disabilities, the elderly, as well as the economically disadvantaged.