The project is an International Telecommunication Union (ICU) initiative designed to promote broadband connectivity in remote or rural communities thus bridging the digital divide. It aims to improve ICT access by school children and members of the local community and is expected to provide relevant services to the students, teachers, members of the ICT centres and trainers.
In her statement, Minister Faye stated that it is an accepted fact that information is critical to the socio-economic activities that propel development. She however pointed out that the information and technology gap and related inequities between industrialized and developing nations are widening, and that a new type of poverty – information poverty looms. “Most developing countries, especially the least developed countries, are not sharing in the communication revolution” she lamented.
Dr. Faye went on: “If information is critical to development, then ICT, being a means of sharing information, is a link in the chain of the development process itself”, adding that the government of the Gambia is very much aware of the role ICT plays both in our communities and in the economic development of the country, hence the reason it commits itself to the principles of the African Information Society Initiative and Infrastructure policies, as in line with the country’s visions 2020 and 2025.
She opined that one common approach to reduce information poverty is by setting up information and technology; thus the motivation for government to establish such an ICT centre. She disclosed that there is unique technology used by the centre in the use of solar-powered installations and specially made computers called ‘Thin Computing’, which consumes less energy.
Minister Faye therefore urged the community to actively use the centre and the school heads and administrations to make best use of the facilities and take great care.
She extended gratitude to partners like the World Bank, for their continuous support to the socio-economic development of the country.
The Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Hon. Sheriff Bojang, reaffirmed government’s commitment to make the Gambia an ICT success story in the region by providing easy access to information and technology services across the country. “The government through the Ministry is working tirelessly to address not only the digital divide but also to improve the national fiber back borne and international connectivity”, Minister Bojang noted.
He revealed that six ICT centres, namely: the July 22 Academy in Bundung, Jamissa Senior Secondary School in Brikama, as well as in Essau, Kaur, Amitage, and in Fatoto were being inaugurated.
ICT Specialist and World Bank representative, Naomi Halewood expressed delight for partnering with the Government of the Gambia for this laudable initiative and assured of their continuous support.
She then urged the residents of Bakau to make best use of the services the centre will be providing.
Kalifa Janneh, National Assembly member said Connect-a-school-connect-a-community project will greatly improve the livelihood of the people of Bakau and the younger generation.
He thanked WARCIP and other partners through the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure for this wonderful project. He assured that this facility will be put to good useand that the community will ensure its sustainability.
Other speakers included the Mayor of Kanifing Municipality Yankuba Colley and Ward Councilor.