By Amadou Jadama
The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy on Friday hosted a press conference on its achievements for the year ended 2023 focusing on digital transformation and the processes of the country’s economy. Several other ministers and permanent secretaries attended since the Digital Economy is connected to all government machinery.
Speaking at the event held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre, Minister Ousman Bah began by reaffirming the unwavering commitment of his ministry in digitalising the economic base of the country, adding that the rapid economic progress of any nation depends on digitalisation infrastructure.
“Looking ahead, I envision The Gambia prominently feature in global indices for the ICT and digital economy sector. This includes benchmarks such as the global
e-government index, ICT index, connectivity index, network readiness index, and other relevant metrics.”
He disclosed that The Gambia is ranked 174th out of 193 countries in the UN E-Government Development Index 2022, rising seven places following the prior survey conducted in 2020.
“The Gambia has been ranked 143rd in the world among 193 countries, also placing it behind many African states and 159th out of 179 countries in the 2019 ITU’s low consumption mobile-data-and-voice affordability ranking. It is my obligation as a Minister, to see The Gambia progress and be the top in each of these indexes and we will strive to that position, “he said.
Minister Bah further stated that The Gambia is contributing to the global discourse on digital transformation. “It is not only about the fancy ranks or positions, but also evidentially, the ICT and Digital Economy Sector play a pivotal role in socio-economic transformation and development. Thus, our focus is on leveraging technology as a catalyst for inclusive, sustainable growth and development, job creation, creating a conducive environment for digital innovation and entrepreneurship, and improved service delivery.”
He went on: “The Ministry remains committed to bridging the digital divide and ensuring that the benefits of the digital economy are accessible to all citizens and enhance the lives of every Gambian. Additionally, recognising the critical importance of accessibility and affordability, the Ministry is actively working on policies to ensure that internet and ICT services are within reach of all citizens.”
The minister is of the view that the journey towards a digitally transformed Gambia is one that requires the collective support of every citizen, and that government, private partners, civil servants, and development partners must unite in this endeavour. “Cleaners, drivers, technicians, senior government officials, the private sector and every individual play a crucial role in the success of our digital agenda,” he said.
While calling on all Gambians to embrace the fact that technology is the cornerstone of development, Bah said his ministry cannot do it alone.
Information minister Lamin Queen Jammeh cited the importance of the economic digitalisation process, stressing that the coming of the new ministry plays a significant role in the digitalisation and economic transformation of the Gambia.
The minister of higher education, Professor Pierre Gomez described as crucial the partnership between his ministry and the Ministry of Digital Economy in digitalising the educational space in the country.
Babucarr Joof, the trade minister, representing the Vice President, reiterated the government’s stands in supporting the digital transformation policy of the country.
The Gambia Digital Economy master plan in 2023 is a countrywide plan with flagship project that is technology, digital solution and services.