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‘Gambia allows healthy competition in ICT’

Mar 6, 2014, 9:25 AM | Article By: Osman Kargbo

The Gambia government has been appraised for leading a very healthy and serene competition in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) in the country.

Trade Minister Abdou Kolley, who made this statement yesterday at the opening ceremony of a three-day summit on the African Growth through Technology held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Senegambia, said this serene competitive environment in The Gambia’s ICT sector has created a wide range of employment opportunities for citizens of the country.

“The Gambia Government, being aware of the sector’s ability to transform its economy, strategically placed itself on the right side of the ICT history by unbundling vital areas of the ICT sector and allowing healthy competition,” Minister Kolley said.

“This has created a wide range of employment opportunities, especially in the technical fields thereby building our human resource base, and providing citizens a wider choice.

“This singular action by the Gambian Government has greatly reduced the digital gap and enabled accessibility to previously unserved areas in the country.”

While ICT has played a pivotal role in globalization and would continueto be a key driver of growth and prosperityin many parts of the world for the foreseeable future, “it is gratifying to note that The Gambia has not been left out”of this global bandwagon as the country also witnessedits own ICT revolution,the minister noted.

“Although much remains possible,” he went on, “the humble strides registered have changed our daily routines in the way we consume information and use and conceive of technology.”

As a least developed country The Gambia certainly has its own unique needs as well, Minister Kolley noted, saying:“We are grateful that we can boast of several software and mobile application developers who, thanks to their in-country presence, can adequately cater to local needs with all the required adjustments readily available and accessible.

“Information asymmetries especially in market prices of commodities is no longer the headache it used to be and so has greatly reduced the disadvantage our farmers and fishermen used to face.

“Decisions by producers from developing nations are now better informed than they used to be and it is hoped that in the very near future we shall no longer be price-takers of our own products.”

Organised by the Information Technology Association of The Gambia (ITAG), in collaboration with InSIST Global Gambia Limited, the African Growth Through Technology Summit (AGTTS) brought together young Gambian entrepreneurs who will be edified on various ICT topics such as cyber security and mobile applications development in the next three days by several international delegates from countries such as Uganda, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Spain and Holland, as well as from The Gambia.

The opportunity given to the participants to showcase their capabilities and skills and get exposure could allow them to market themselves and their outputs, said the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICI), Lamin Camara, who represented his permanent secretary at the summit.

“I hope that the aspiring young programmers and engineers will not only seize this opportunity to learn from experts, but also showcase their talents,” Mr Camara said, adding that his ministry together with the ICT Industry players has “worked diligently to improve the telecommunication infrastructure” in The Gambia.

In his remarks on the occasion, the Chief Executive Officer of InSIST Global Gambia Limited, Seedy Omar Bensouda, said: “The summit represents a realization of one of many ambitions that I hope if realized will transform our country and Africa, into a major player in the global ICT Ecosystem.”