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Sierra Leone’s digital government drive gets push with data sharing MoU

Sierra Leone’s digital government drive gets push with data sharing MoU

Internal efforts within the government of Sierra Leone to add traction to the country’s digital government push have got a jerk with the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), early this month, concluded a deal with the Ministry of Communication, Technology and Innovation (MoCTI) that lays the groundwork for more partnerships on data sharing to facilitate digital government transactions, the NCRA says in an announcement.

It is expected that the MoU will mark a new dawn for how the NCRA collaborates with government institutions to facilitate “real-time identity verification, secured data exchanges, and bolstering the entire digital service delivery framework,” while “leveraging on local data hosting and robust fiber connectivity.”

Per the deal, the NCRA will provide data hosting services to government ministries, departments and agencies in a manner that enhances efficiency and availability of services to the public, as explained by Alieu Kallon, director of Information Communication and Technology at NCRA.

In his comments, the NCRA Director General, Mohamed Mubashir MASSAQUOI, said: “Today, we not only sign an MOU; we commence a transformative journey towards digital empowerment, integrating every facet of government interaction with revolutionary technology and principles.”

“Thanks to this MoU, we dismantled these long-standing barriers, introducing a new paradigm that fosters synergy, eliminates silos, and places efficiency and responsiveness at the heart of our digital initiatives.”

The official noted that the MoU will see the putting in place of a Data Exchange Layer (DEL) that will ensure effective governance using technology and increase participation, create synergy to harmonize siloed operations, set the stage for digital identity verification, and enable smooth and instantaneous information sharing among institutions.

Underscoring the importance of the deal, Communication Minister Salima Bah, said: “initiating our efforts with the NCRA is a strategic move.  Data is the bedrock of digital governance, and streamlining access across services is critical to our collective success.”

A MoCTI ICT specialist, Kumba Musa, commenting on the partnership, said “at the heart of digital governance is the critical need for interoperability, that allows for secured and streamlined data sharing across platforms—a cornerstone concept that drove this initiative.”

New call for citizens to obtain biometric digital ID cards

In a related development, the NCRA has again called on citizens and foreign legal residents to make sure they obtain their biometric national digital ID cards in order to have easy access to services, local newspaper The Calabash reports. The body made a similar call early in the year.

The NCRA takes digital ID adoption very seriously as it believes it is the driver of Sierra Leone’s digital transformation agenda.

To facilitate access to IDs, the NCRA has announced the opening of more accessible issuance centers around the country, while also introducing cooperate services.

The ID cards are obligatory for citizens.

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