By S. U. Thoronka……………………..
The World Bank Country Manager Parminder Brar in a press briefing held at the Tulip Hotel in Aberdeen on Saturday 12th August, 2016, disclosed that through the World Bank the sum of $500,000 has been provided for the implementation of internet connectivity in 10 tertiary education institutions, universities and Government owned secondary schools, two in the province and four in Freetown.
He commended the leadership of the Government for having broken the monopoly on the gateway, adding that there was need to reduce the price of internet and increase the access. He said the establishment of the fibre optic cable has also facilitated the rolling out of the internet backbone in the country and that the idea to connect all universities and schools was discussed at a meeting held at Njala campus not too long ago.
The press briefing coincided with the official visit of the Executive Director for Sierra Leone on the Boards of the World Bank Group Dr. Louis Rene Peter Larose. Dr. Larose arrived in Freetown on Friday August 12, and would be meeting with the authorities to discuss and better understand Sierra Leone’s development efforts, challenges and potentials for accelerated recovery and the country’s relations with the World Bank.
Speaking at the press briefing, Dr. Larose noted that the occasion was historic and that it symbolized a blessing having in mind the heavy down pour on that day. He commended the Minister of Information and Communications for having cancelled his oversea trip to attend the press conference. According to Dr. Larose, the Minister has demonstrated his commitment, love and support he has for his country. The envoy promised to give 100% support to the Government and people of Sierra Leone not only in telecommunications but in all other sectors. He said the implementation of the project would connect Sierra Leone to the rest of the world and enhance education.
Dr. Larose is a member of the Human Resources Committee and the Committee on Development Effectiveness on the Executive Boards of the World Bank Group. He plays a dual role of serving the interest of the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone to ensure that the country benefits fully from the services and resources of the World Bank Group; and providing fiduciary oversight on the senior management of the World Bank Group to ensure effective implementation of development policies and strategies of its respective institutions.
During the course of his visit, Dr. Larose would take a tour to some of the projects financed by the Bank to apprise himself of developments with those projects. The World Bank Group’s project portfolio and support to Sierra Leone is currently at a record level in excess of US$670 million.
The Minister of Information and Communications Mr. Mohamed Bangura underscored the importance of the press briefing, adding that the relationship between the Country Manager Parminder Brar and the Government has impacted positively in the implementation of World Bank sponsored projects in the country. He thanked the World Bank Team for the provision of the internet facility to the various institutions in the country and assured that the money provided by the Bank would be prudently utilized. The Minister lamented that over the years Sierra Leoneans did not benefit from the huge mineral resources but expressed the hope that with the establishment of the ICT project the people stand to benefit immensely. He said the World Bank support is as a result of Government commitment in implementing projects that are feasible and sustainable. He promised that as young Ministers they would not afford to fail the President.