(Ecofin Agency) - Currently, only 13% of Sierra Leonne’s population has access to internet. Bakarr Tarawally (photo), communication manager of the country’s ICT ministry and member of the Internet society Sierra Leone (ISOC-SL), bemoaned the fact on January 25, 2019, during a meeting of the ISOC-SL.
According to the official, this is due to the lack of investments in the private sectors. This undermines the credibility of the government that made important investments, since 2011, to build fibre optics on the country's coast. Indeed, though the government has brought internet connectivity to the country, Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB), the state-owned firm that manages the fibre optics infrastructure, laments that telecom operators are still strongly attached to the digital microwave system for backhaul.
The poor demand for fibre optics infrastructures is thus a roadblock for the extension of broadband internet to the whole country since SALCAB cannot extend the network to zones where the demand is nonexistent. Apart from that, there is the poor coverage of the country by telecom operators and, according to the SALCAB, internet penetration rate will remain poor in that case.
This year, the ISOC-SL has decided to change things. In its strategic plan, it announces numerous operations to sensitize public and private players of the telecom market on the necessity to invest and give the country a chance to transform the internet into a socio-economic growth driver.