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Sierra Leone hosts Ecowas Ministerial Steering Committee summit on Amilcar Cabral Submarine Cable

HomeNewsSierra Leone hosts Ecowas Ministerial Steering Committee summit on Amilcar Cabral Submarine...

Sierra Leone hosts Ecowas Ministerial Steering Committee summit on Amilcar Cabral Submarine Cable


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The second Steering Committee Meeting on the Amilcar Cabral Submarine Cable project was held yesterday in Freetown.

The project aims to provide the Member States of Sierra Leone, Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Liberia by with a subsea fiber optic cable which will increase international broadband capacity and guarantee redundancy in the concerned countries.

The objective of the meeting was to discuss the installation of Bureau, adopt the draft agender, review updates on tasks assigned from the 1st Ministerial Steering Committee Meeting/progress on project preparation, finalise project MoU, recap of conclusions from interim report validation workshop and presentation of key updates on project feasibility study/technical deign.

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray said the Ministerial Steering Committee and the Expert Committee provides an excellent opportunity for participating member states in the project to create ownership as well as learn and share their experiences of successes and challenges in the deployment and utilisation of critical digital infrastructure such as the undersea Fiber Optic cable.

The minister commended the ECOWAS Commission and in particular the Directorate of Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalisation and the Project Preparatory Development Unit (PPDU) for conceiving this project which is so relevant to all of us having only a single cable as they create the enabling environment to expand broadband technologies.

The project he went on, will support the government in developing a strategic approach to addressing the potential risk of having a single submarine cable, as well as to better leverage the potential this brings to improved efficiency of the broadband market in Sierra Leone.

“Sierra Leone was one of the first countries in West Africa to commit to improving the geographical reach of high-speed connectivity to its citizens through an undersea internet cable, the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE), which benefitted from World Bank Group financing. The GoSL has made significant efforts to develop the terrestrial backbone networks that connect the ACE submarine cable to its citizens and neighboring countries.” Minister Swaray said.

He added saying: “Currently we have about 1,600 km of in-country core fiber backbone network that connects most major cities and towns as well as linking to out two neighboring countries to Zimmi at the Liberia border and onwards to Gbalamuya at the border with Guinea”.

He said the project resonates with the government’s medium-term National Development Plan and the National Digital Development Policy and strategy in line with the government agenda of developing a resilient and affordable Digital Ecosystem to achieve His Excellency’s vision of transforming Sierra Leone into an inclusive digital economy and society with a digitally empowered citizenry supporting sustainable economic development, democracy, national security, and good governance.

He said this is in sync with the ‘Leave No One Behind’ vision of the United Nations (UN) as espoused in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the ‘Africa we want’ principle of the African Union as enshrined in its 2063 Vision and the ECOWAS harmonized policies on ICT.

The minister joined other speakers, to emphasize the importance of this meeting and to invite you all to take a collaborative approach to adopting a regional approach towards the design and implementation of this project.

He encouraged all to take advantage of the varied Sierra Leonean hospitalities and make the best of their stay in Freetown.

Speaking earlier, Dr. Eugene Capochichi, Director of the ECOWAS Project Preparation and Development Unit (PPDU) at the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalisation of the ECOWAS Commission said in line with the objectives of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers Regulations C/REG.06/06/12 on Conditions for Access to Submarine Cable Landing Stations in 2012 and C/REG.19/12/16 on the Conditions for Access to National and International Bandwidths to Terrestrial Networks within ECOWAS in 2016, the ECOWAS Commission, through the PPDU and the Directorate of Digital Economy and Post, is supporting the Governments of Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in the preparation of the Amilcar Cabral Submarine Cable Project.

The objective of the project, he went on, is to amongst other things increase international broadband capacity in the concerned Member States; guarantee redundancy in international connectivity for The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Liberia; and, provide direct connection from Cabo Verde to the rest of the ECOWAS Region.

In conclusion, the Honourable Ministers and the ECOWAS Commission thanked the Government of Sierra Leone for its support and hosting the meeting as well as the leadership of the Chairman of the Steering Committee.

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