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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

CTO supports Southern Sudan with 3-yr plan

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) has disclosed plans to support the development and reconstruction of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the Southern Sudan with a three-year strategic plan.

The chief executive officer, CTO, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah said that the preparation of a three- year Strategic and Institutional Plan for the Ministry of Telecommunication and Postal Services (MOTPS) would boost the ICT sector in the reconstruction process of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS).

He pointed out in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online by Senior Programme Manager, Lasantha De Alwis that the Strategic Plan would outline the mission, goals and objectives for the Ministry and the Institutional Plan, which would recommend the optimal structure along with a human resource development plan that would enable MOTPS to meet its key ICT goals.

He said that the project being undertaken by the CTO’s Research and Consultancy Division, would give a boost by MOTPS using the institutional knowledge of the CTO and its members, to avoid many mistakes hitherto made by other countries.

He disclosed that a team from the CTO completed its first Mission to Juba where consultative meetings were held with representatives of MOTPS and other GOSS officials led by Major General Madut Biar Yel, the Minister for Telecoms & Postal Services.

Others on the team include Lt. Gen. Gier Chiang Aluong, Minister for Internal Affairs; Dr. Kosti Manibe Ngai, Minister for Cabinet Affairs; Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Minister for Information; Maj. Gen. Oyay Deng Ajak, Minister for Investment; Mr. Juma Stephen Lugga, Undersecretary; Prof. Maciek Madol, Director-General (Telecoms); Dr Shem J. Ochuodho, Senior Advisor; Mr. Thomas Gatkwoth, Director – Telecoms; and Rev. Francis Apoya, Director – Postal Services.

He confirmed that in-depth consultations were also held with mobile operators in the Southern Sudan.

“Following recent projects with the National Communications Authority of Ghana and Sierra Leone’s National Telecommunications Commission, the CTO is pleased to have been requested to assist the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services with its Strategic Plan. Like the CTO, MOTPS recognised the pivotal role ICTs can play in the socio-economic development of Southern Sudan,” he said.

Pointing out that Southern Sudan recognised it has a long road to travel and is being presented with a unique opportunity to play catch-up.

“By using the institutional knowledge of the CTO and its members, we believe MOTPS can avoid many mistakes made by other countries and utilise the lessons learned from those ICT policies, regulations, master plans and projects that have been successful, and those that have been unsuccessful,” he said.

This new nation, the CTO boss said, “would have the opportunity to not merely leap-frog, but to cheetah pole-vault over other nations, if it is methodical about its approach in the ICT and other sectors. The CTO very much looks forward to working with the MOTPS to develop plans that reflect Southern Sudan’s ICT priorities and helps meet them.”

In a related press statement, the President of Government of Southern Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayrdit, declared that they have recognized the importance of communications and ICTs in wealth generation, job creation, poverty alleviation, and citizen’s access to government services, and the fact that the bulk majority of the people population live in rural areas, “it is incumbent upon us to evolve strategies to expand communication services to the rural areas. The obvious key challenges include suitable infrastructure and services for all forms of communications, including telecommunications & ICT.”

Earlier in his welcome address to the CTO delegation, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Maj. Gen. Madut Biar Yel noted on formation of government, they have committed themselves to provide basic services to the people, such as clean water, reasonable housing, healthcare, education, good roads, efficient transport, security, as well as, modern telecommunications and postal services.

“That today even in some of the very remote villages of Southern Sudan you can make a phone call is itself a clear testimony that with the continued cooperation and partnership of all major actors, including the private sector, even some of the pertinent challenges can be overcome.,” he said.

Yel emphasised that they are very clear in their minds that with the vast regional and global best practices and experiences that the partnership with the CTO brings onto the table through this consultancy, not even the sky will be the limit to an independent South Sudan.

The CTO’s work with the MOTPS is expected to last 12 months and the team from its Research and Consultancy Division expects to visit Southern Sudan two more times before the end of the project.

In addition to the development of the strategic and institutions plans, the CTO team will also advise MOTPS on a number of pressing issues for the country, including management of its international gateway, spectrum management, e-Governance, the establishment of an independent regulatory agency and a body to oversee universal access plans and projects.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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