(Abuja, 1st Nov. 2016).
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) stakeholders and specialists have stressed the need for deployment of ICT to facilitate development and meaningful integration.
At the 5th Technical Committee Meeting on the Computerization of ECOWAS Institutions which began in Abuja on the 31st of October 2016, the stakeholders and experts drawn from the region were also told to harness ideas and come up with suggestions that will enhance development in all areas of economic and socio-cultural life such as Agriculture, Health, Peace and Security, Education etc.
A final presentation and review of the regional Information Technology (IT) policies and procedures for all community institutions, progress report on communitywide intranet Development & the ECOWAS Ecolink project as well as actionable points from knowledge management experiences are expected to emerge at the end of the meeting.
Addressing participants at the meeting, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Telecommunication and Information Technology, Dr Isaias Barreto da Rosa noted that the objectives of the meeting places a heavy burden on members of the technical committee regarding the onerous task of keeping abreast of modern trends in ICT as well as ensuring that ICT tools are deployed timely and cost effectively in all the Institutions and Agencies of ECOWAS Commission to facilitate development.
Stressing that the ECOWAS IT policy is one of the key agenda of the meeting, the Commissioner recalled that stakeholders have been working on preparation of this instrument for the past 5 years: “we have been working on the preparation of this document and after many challenges, we have finally reached the deployment stage, which shall start right after this IT Technical Committee meeting” He added
According to him, the ECOWAS IT policy should clearly define the guiding policies for all ECOWAS Institutions on IT services delivery, support and integration as well as IT governance and IT capacity development.
After expressing gratitude for participant’s attendance, the Commissioner challenged the attendees on the need for gender balance in terms of representations. He also raised pertinent questions regarding whether stakeholders have been able to meet the objectives spelt out in the ICT masterplan and its implementation so that progress can be made beyond the usual talk in creating a unified communication system.
Speaking very passionately but resolutely on the need to accomplish set objectives and tasks bearing in mind that ICT is the key to and an engine of regional integration, Commissioner Barreto submitted: “Alone we can go faster but together we can indeed go further”
Earlier, the Director, ECOWAS Computer Community Centre (CCC) Mr. Osei-Tutu Agyeman Duah spoke about the need to appreciate the significance of significance of an IT drive world in efficiency and development. He made specific reference to the United States (US) military where “cyber warriors” make great contributions with about 6,000 soldiers sitting behind the computers without shooting a gun.
The Technical Committee Meeting on Computerization of ECOWAS Institutions has in its mandate, assistance in the development and periodic review of ECOWAS ICT Master Plan that will enable the realization of ECOWAS Strategic goals while ensuring the standardization of all ICT equipment and software in all institutions, Agencies and Projects including the setting up of a common framework in line with best practices for the delivery of ICT services and solutions in all institutions, Agencies and Projects, among others.