THE GAMBIAN ICT4D-2012 PLAN
Developing The Gambian Information Economy and Society and Accelerating the Process of
Transforming The Gambia into the Silicon Valley of Africa
The Government of The Gambia in response to the recognition that ---- information , knowledge and technology in one form or another increasingly becoming the key drivers for socio-economic development world-wide, developed the nation's ICT4D (or NICI) Policy with technical support from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), in the framework of the African Information Society Initiative (AISI). The NICI Plan development process was led by Prof. Clement Dzidonu, Senior Research Fellow at the International Institute for Information Technology (INIIT), Accra , Ghana . Funding of the process was provided by ECA and the Republic of Finland.
The Government in developing this Policy Statement did recognize that: for these policy provisions and commitments to make an appreciable desirable impact on Gambia's socio-economic development process they will need to be integrated into the overall developmental objectives, priorities and programmes of the country. Such an all-inclusive comprehensive ICT4D policy and strategies must be aimed at the implementation of initiatives that could contribute to addressing the key developmental challenges facing The Gambia.
The Gambia in acknowledging the crucial developmental potentials of ICTs set its national ICT4D Policy Statement within the general framework of meeting in the short to medium term its PRSP goals and objectives and as well as the MDGs. The longer term vision is to use these technologies and its resources to substantially transform Gambia 's under-developed low-income agricultural-based, technologically and industrially weak economy into a high income information-rich and knowledge-based economy and society in the emerging information and knowledge age.
The Gambia NICI process follows the methodology developed by UNECA under the auspices of the AISI initiative to guide the NICI process in its member countries. The NICI methodology stipulates that the NICI process in a given countries should be conducted in phases with each phase yielding specified but related deliverables, namely:
Phase 1 - The Framework Document
Phase 2 - The Policy Document
Phase 3 - The Plan
Phase 4 - The Implementation
The Gambian ICT4D Plan developed to implement the provisions of the nation's ICT4D Policy Statement also took into account the fact that the rapid changes and developments in the communications industry and sector has given rise to convergence between communications, telecommunications, broadcasting and information technologies, services, platforms and systems.
This 'phenomena of convergence' (PoC) of communications technologies is making it possible for data in the form of text, audio/voice and video to be transported through a variety of networks including broadcasting, computer, telecommunications etc to be accessed from a variety of access platforms and devices.
Gambia like other countries in both the developed and developing world do acknowledged the need to take into account the implications of the phenomena of convergence within its national e-strategies and action plan aimed at supporting and facilitating the development, deployment and the exploitation of ICTs within the society and economy to build the nation's information society and economy.
The Phases of the ICT4D-2012 Plan Development
The broad objectives of this phase of The Gambian NICI Process is to develop based on the NICI Policy adopted by the Cabinet, The Gambian ICT4D-2012 Action Plan through a national consultative process involving all key stakeholder institutions in the public and the private sector.
The ICT4D-2012 Plan with an implementation timeframe of 2009 -2012 is the first of a series of four-yearly action plans designed to implement the provisions of The Gambian ICT4D (NICI) Policy.
As pointed out earlier, the central goal of these plans is to put Gambia on an accelerated developmental path that will transform its economy and society in the emerging technological, information and knowledge age into a knowledge-driven high income information society and economy. A by-product aspiration is to in the process transform The Gambia into the Silicon Valley of Africa technologically and as well as in terms of serving as a hub within the sub-region for the development and production of high-income earning knowledge products and as well as the provision of ICT-enabled value-added services.
The development of The Gambian ICT4D-2012 Action Plan is being undertaken in two sub-phases. The first phase (constituting this report of the Plan) focuses on the development of the sub-plans for: Human Resource Development , ICTs-in-Education , and ICT-in-Communities . Also forming part the Phase 1 is the development of specific programmes and initiatives targeted at the implementation of the WSIS Plan of Action 'action lines' relating to these three pillars of The Gambian ICT4D-2012 Plan.
The Phase 2 of the Plan development process focuses on the development of sub-plans for the other remaining pillars of the ICT4D Action Plan. Notable among these are the development of the sub-plans for: e-government, private sector development, e-commerce, developing a value-added export oriented ICT and services sector and industry, ICT infrastructure development among others.