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Gambia welcomes ICT investors

Mar 26, 2014, 10:13 AM | Article By: Oaman kargbo

Gambia’s Minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure, Bala Garba Jahumpa, overseeing the Ministry of Information, has given the red carpet to ICT investors to come and invest in The Gambia, as the country is fast becoming an ICT hub in Africa.

Hon. Garba Jahumpa made this call yesterday at the opening ceremony of the 12 Annual Innovation Africa Digital (IAD) Summit from 25 to 27 March at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Banjul, where telecom leaders, ICT operators and information ministers from Africa and around the world converged to discuss the theme: ‘Quality of Service and Customer Experience’, one of the most pressing issues facing Africa’s telecommunications industry.

The minister, who deputised the Gambia’s Vice President, told the jam-packed conference hall of ICT officials and gurus: “The Government of The Gambia in pursuit of the vision to be an ICT hub has already identified the location for an ICT park after a thorough feasibility study.

“We will be delighted to host your companies at this site. Therefore, for your business prosperity and success come invest in The Gambia, a country with longstanding peace, security and stability.”

Hon. Garba Jahumpa said the theme: “towards service excellence” is paramount for communication and interaction in any ICT systems, applications and processes.

He said The Gambia is committed to the AU programme on infrastructure development in Africa (PIDA), the outcomes of both the WSIS and Connect Africa Summit, and has made significant progress to realize their set objectives.

“This is evident in the provision of a reliable infrastructure and the promulgation of regulations and policies on open access and universal service and access,” he said.

He added that the Gambia Government under “the dynamic and exemplary leadership of His Excellency, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, has realised the important role ICTs play in the socio-economic development of any nation."

“ICTs have helped improve people’s lives, improve productivity and facilitated developments in peoples and society at large,” the minister noted. “As a result, the government has streamlined ICT development in its development blueprints, namely Vision 2020, National Export Strategy and the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE).”

In his remarks on the occasion, the Director General of the Gambia Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority (PURA), Abdou Jobe, said ICT operators must ensure that while they make meaningful gains with information and communication technologies, “corresponding measures are taken to protect the public from sub-standing quality of service products and services."

Mr Jobe, whose institution was established in 2004 to regulate and rebalance interconnection charges between operators, among other salient functions, said: “The Gambia’s telecoms sector has mobile network coverage of over 93% and the telephone penetration rate in the country is close to 100%, which is ranged amongst Africa’s best.”

The Summit, which brought together policymakers, regulators, C level representatives from fixed, mobile and ISP operators, and major end users, to this world-class conference programme and one-to-one business meetings to accelerate telecoms and ICT growth in Africa, is organised in The Gambia by the Gambia’s Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, and Extensia Ltd, an international firm that supports sustainable growth of Telecoms and ICT across Africa.

Its flagship IAD summit “has run every year without break for the past 11 years and is widely acclaimed as the best place to do business” and meet top decision-makers in the African Telecom and ICT space.