The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy hosted a two-day Senior Government officials Retreat on ICT program and project implementation from November 2nd -3rd 2022, at the Kairaba beach hotel. The Retreat is part of activities geared towards accelerating digital transformation through enhanced coordination and collaboration in ICT program implementation. The objectives of the retreat included;
o Assessing ongoing ICT projects and initiatives across Ministries to identify challenges and successes;
o Strengthening coordination and synergy for improved outcomes on ICT program and project implementation;
o Exploring opportunities for the harmonization of ICT interventions to avoid duplication and ensure judicious utilization of resources;
o Accelerating the implementation of the e-government strategy 2021-2025;
o Mapping out targeted investment opportunities for the enhancement of e-government implementation in The Gambia
o Mapping out targeted funding opportunities for the development of digital skills in the public sector;
o Assessing ICT infrastructure and connectivity needs of Ministries
o Improving the utilization of public service portals and e-Services/applications,
o Concertedly identify mechanisms of developing solutions that would allow interoperability between systems or platforms in the public service; and
o Reviewing ICT policies and regulations
The event was officially opened by the Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia His Excellency Badara A. Joof in delivering his Keynote Address, VP Joof reaffirmed government’s unflinching commitment and support to the realization of the goals and objectives of the ICT development initiatives implemented by the various Ministries Departments and Agencies.
On his part, the Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ousman Bah highlighted the Ministry’s five medium term priority interventions. Which includes;
o The establishment of holistic National Payment Gateway to support the digitalization of the economy,
o Establishment of a Secondary submarine cable to boost redundancy,
o Strengthening of e-government for increased and enhanced online government service delivery
o Establishment of a Tier 4 National Data Centre to position The Gambia as a sub-regional Data hub
o Roll out a National Digital Identity scheme to support effective delivery of social services, foster peace and security and enhance business processes.
Other high level officials at the opening ceremony included, Honorable Abdoulie Jobe, Honorable Demba Sabally, Honorable Siaka Sonko, Honorable Pierre Gomez and The Secretary General and Head of Civil Service Mrs Salimatou E . Touray.
The Retreat preceded with presentations from a host of MDAs. The Office of the President and Office of the Vice President presented on the current endeavors aimed at improving network coverage and enhancing work flows at their respective offices.
The Ministry of Finance, Accountant General’s Department and Gambia Revenue Authority all presented on ongoing efforts to improve transparency and accountability in public finance management and utilization.
Other presenters during day one of the retreat included the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Lands and the Ministry of Justice. The presentations focused on the current strides taken by these Ministries in the digitalization process of their work flows and services.
The closing statement for the day was delivered by Honorable Pierre Gomez, Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology. Honorable Gomez reechoed calls to put in place measures that would help improve synergy in ICT project and program implementation. The Honorable Minister urged stakeholders to avoid the duplication of interventions and ensure judicious utilization of scarce resources.
Day 2 of the retreat gave other MDAs the opportunity to bring on board their respective ICT interventions. Presenters included the Ministry of Interior and its satellite institutions, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Public Service, Ministry of Defense, National Audit Office, National Records Services and the Gambia Ports Authority. All presentations focused on the ongoing digitalization endeavors of the respective institutions.
As part of the action points from the retreat, the Report from the retreat will be presented to Cabinet by the Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy. This is expected to inform the government’s short- and medium-term ICT interventions across Ministries Departments and Agencies. It will also strengthen high level commitment and participation in the digital transformation process.
The newly appointed Minister of Public Service, Honorable Babucarr Boye delivered the Closing remarks of the Retreat. Honorable Boye applauded the initiative taken by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, describing it as a step in the right direction. He concluded by reiterating government’s commitment to the strengthening of human capital across Ministries, Departments and Agencies