ICT AGENCY ESTABLISHMENT – A CHALLENGE (High Unemployment, Food Security, Literacy Level)

By Saikou Suwareh Jabai

A recent feasibility study on the establishment of a National ICT Agency of The Gambia (GICTA) indicated that even though The Gambia picked up some economic growth in 2012 and 2013, records show that the balance of payments weakness still persists.

This subsequently puts pressures on The Gambian legal tender. According to an UNCTAD analysis: “Over the medium term, the main challenges for the Gambia are to strengthen economic and financial stability, enhance growth prospects, and reduce poverty in line with the authorities’ ‘Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE)’ to quote the IMF in more of their reviews of the Gambian economy in mid-2013.”

Prepared and submitted by Consultant Lamin Jabbi, to the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure for validation, the document has it that closely related to the challenges stated above, a number of challenges face the country including low literacy levels, lack of food security and high rates of unemployment.

Evident by the inclusion of a significant role of ICT in its national development agenda, the research pointed out that the government of The Gambia is committed to reducing poverty and recognized the role of ICT in socio-economic development. It disclosed that the government through the MOICI has an e-government strategy that outlines the need for the implementation of e-government to improve efficiency and quality of public services delivery, adding that there is also the ECOWAN project which is expected to add to the improvement of efficiency in delivery of services and reduce costs.

However, the outline challenges would not only require a mere physical intervention by changing a policy but there, as in other countries, ought to be a requirement of the use of ICTs in reducing the cost of government services delivery.