South Africa's Vodacom scouts Sierra Leone telecoms opportunitiesBy KEMO CHAM in Freetown | Wednesday, June 6 2012 at 11:57
South Africa-headquartered telecommunication giant Vodacom has expressed its interest in investing in Sierra Leone's communications industry.
A delegation, comprising the company`s top executives including its chief operating officer Vuyani Jarana, has just concluded a visit in the West African country.
Although Sierra Leonean officials here were keen on having the company invest in the ICT sector, Mr Jarana told a meeting with government officials and representatives of the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) that Vodacom was looking to build strong relationships in diverse industries driving the continents` growth.
He named oil and gas, mining and construction, manufacturing and service delivery among others as potential areas for investment.
“Vodacom ensures quality and affordable products are delivered and best practices are our commitment,” he said.
Sierra Leone will join a list of Vodacom countries of interest, which have until now been limited to southern and eastern Africa.
To start with, the pan-African telecoms company has unveiled its country manager for Sierra Leone, Mr Alfred Kobba.
At the discussion in a Freetown hotel, the Vodacom officials promised to provide integrated business network solutions using the latest technologies available.
Also present at the meeting were top private sector executives, including from the banking industry, mining companies as well as auditing firms.
A NATCOM representative said the Commission was “open to credible investors in the telecommunications industry as it is aimed at promoting the socio-economic development of the country through attraction of foreign direct investment.”
The official attempted to entice the visiting delegation by portraying Sierra Leone as having “the most flexible telecoms regulations” in the sub-region.
Sierra Leone has been seeking investment in the telecoms sector as it prepares to operationalise its recently installed submarine fiber optic cable, which is expected to boost the country`s interconnectivity.
An official of the Ministry of Information and Communications, Mohamed Alieu Bah, assured of government’s determination to run the country like a business.
In this regard, he noted, the landing of the fibre optic cable and government`s planned liberalisation scheme “demonstrates it will and commitment in ensuring best business practices in Information Communications Technology (ICT) and all other businesses operating in the country.”
Mr Bah informed the visiting officials of Sierra Leone`s pending establishment of an “ICT City to harmonize the E- Government initiative” in line with the government`s plan of moving the country away from the analogue system to digital.
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