Articles Tagged with

Sierra Leone

Home / Sierra Leone
Blog

DSTI and Ministry of Trade and Industry will use technology to make Sierra Leone better for business

The Directorate of Science Technology and Innovation (DSTI) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop and implement evidence-driven reforms for efficient public service delivery and to make Sierra Leone better for business and trade.

The MoU signed at the Ministry of Trade and Industry at Youyi Building in Freetown last week provides a framework of cooperation and collaboration for both institutions to improve Sierra Leone’s performance on the World Bank’s Doing Business Index. The Doing Business Index released annually compares quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights across 190 economies. The index measures government regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. 

Over the past decade, Sierra Leone’s Ease of Doing Business ranking averaged at 150, placing it amongst the worst performers in the world. When H. E. President Julius Maada Bio assumed office in May 2018, the EODB ranking for that year was where it is now at 163 of 190 countries. Committed to creating an effective and transparent business environment in Sierra Leone, H.E Bio launched the Ease of Doing Business initiative as an integrated and coordinated effort across all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) engaged in service delivery. 

“When government institutions actively seek to share data, knowledge, capacity, and ideas- citizens win. This relationship will improve service delivery not just for the private sector but also for citizens seeking to access government services like payment of taxes or registering a company. These activities fall within the National Development Plan and the National Innovation and Digital Strategy. We seek to make Sierra Leone a favorable place for innovation, entrepreneurship, and industry,” said Dr. Moinina David Sengeh.

“Within our mandates, DSTI and MTI both represent essential ingredients to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 9 – Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure. The Government of Sierra Leone also has the Office of the President Infrastructural Initiatives. All these show our commitment to achieving the SDGs. With MTI specifically, DSTI worked hand in hand to map entire business processes for improving service delivery. We have also developed trackers for holding champions and government officials accountable in this transformation process.” 

Although the MOU makes the partnership between DSTI and MTI official, both institutions have engaged in knowledge sharing, working to fine-tune regulations over the past 18 months.  Together they proffered policy changes to enable decision-makers to implement the necessary reforms to ensure all EODB interventions are sustainable. At the signing of the MoU, DSTI had completed the research-the first part of a three-phase Ease of Doing Business Reform Methodology. Data analysts produced end-to-end process maps for all Doing Business Indicators that reflect both user and administrative processes. 

“The resources and understanding of technology that DSTI has is one of the greatest treasures that DSTI is bringing to MTI and this collaboration will set the tone for business reform in Sierra Leone,” said Dr. Edward Hinga Sandy, Minister of Trade and Industry. 


DSTI supports MDAs with data and technology design to allow policymakers to make data-driven decisions to deliver on Sierra Leone’s national development plan. Since its inception, DSTI has built partnerships with local and international leaders on technology and innovation, including MIT, Statistics Sierra Leone, The Gates Foundation, eGovernance Academy, UNICEF Sierra Leone, and UNDP.

Blog

Sierra Leone uses big data analytics for national economic research

A new, economic data analytics tool released by the Government of Sierra Leone hosts time series data on national inflation, foreign exchange, imports, and exports. The Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation said the Sierra Leone Economic Data Analytics Tool (SLEDAT) ushers in a new age of local research capability driven by the New Direction’s agenda to take Sierra Leone from guesswork policymaking to data-driven decision making.

SLEDAT  (www.edat.dsti.gov.sl) was launched in Freetown today with partners; Ministry of Finance, Statistics Sierra Leone, and the Bank of Sierra Leone. The three institutions provided the datasets that will enable citizens and researchers to use the tool to analyze economic trends. A ten-year economic data report based on the visualizations and analytics garnered from the SLEDAT has also been published to kickstart a national conversation on economic data and research.

The tool was developed as a direct response to citizen demands for answers about the country’s economy. Sierra Leoneans know that foreign exchange rate fluctuations have a direct and real impact on the price of everyday goods. Decision-makers know this too. However, this is the first time that researchers, government leaders, and citizens will be able to access, probe, and analyze economic data across the government’s leading data institutions. For now, SLEDAT shows the relationship between the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Import and Export Values, and Foreign Exchange Rate for foreign currencies against the official Bank of Sierra Leone “buy”/”sell” rates. While the tool doesn’t explain why prices rise “dip” or rise “peak,” it allows users to get a bird’s eye view of the country’s economic outlook in real-time. 

According to Dr. Yakama Manty Jones, Director of Research and Delivery Division, Ministry of Finance this is just the beginning of a massive national effort for government-led research on issues of national development. 

A cross-section of DSTI partners at today’s launch of SLEDAT at the Minister of Finance in Freetown – 30 January 2020

“It is the collaboration with DSTI, Stats-SL, Bank of Sierra Leone that makes the development of tools such as SLEDAT possible.  Continuous engagement with both data producers and users enables us to create comprehensive, accurate and timely data in user-friendly formats,” said Dr. Yakama Jones.

“Across Government, especially at the Ministry of Finance, research uptake is increasing.  We seek to ensure that data and evidence inform our policy formulation and implementation processes but to do so we must collaborate. We are committed to research although big data analytics is only just emerging in Sierra Leone.”

The ability to access and visualize datasets makes the government more open and transparent. While DSTI is committed to supporting ministries, departments, and agencies with technology design, creating tools that increase citizen engagement, and accountability is part of what drove President Julius Maada Bio’s vision when he established the Directorate of Science in the first instance.

“Data is important but only if and when it is used for making critical decisions that affect people’s lives,” said Dr. Moinina David Sengeh, Chief Innovation Officer.

“When the Government is this transparent with its data and invites citizens and researchers to engage openly, it builds our confidence in supporting national development. Everyone matters and every action counts- that’s why we must share, link and analyze data openly.”

Mohamed James – DSTI Data Scientist

DSTI’s lead data scientist for SLEDAT, Mohamed James, said that users should consider the tool as the first model-version 1.0 with improvements already in the pipeline. The more people use and engage with the tool by asking questions the more information DSTI will have to make it better.

“When our team at DSTI created SL Economic Data Analytics Tool as with all of our applications, we thought about the end-users: policymakers, researchers, and citizens. How can we create a solution that will change and improve the way everyone understands the economy? How can we simplify these datasets for them?” said Mohamed James.

The Ministry of Finance just adopted a digital public financial management system developed by DSTI. These efforts move Sierra Leone closer to realizing a digital economy- a major pillar of the National Innovation and Digital Strategy (NIDS)

Blog

DSTI Sierra Leone’s Human Capital Development Incubator awarded 1,050,000 CHF grant to improve quality education

Geneva-based  UBS Optimus Foundation and the Peter Cundill Foundation have awarded a 1,050,000 swiss francs (10,5 billion leones) grant to the Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI) to support the Education Innovation Challenge (EIC) on its quest to improve learning outcomes at primary schools. The EIC is under the technical supervision of the Human Capital Development (HCD) Incubator at DSTI.  President Bio launched the HCD Incubator in December 2018. 

Human Capital Development Incubator Team at DSTI including (L-R) Wilsona Jalloh, Elizabeth Smith, Aissatou Bah at a community engagement meeting in Makeni, Northern Province at the launch of the Education Innovation Challenge – October 2019

The Peter Cundill Foundation was established in Bermuda in 2012, following the death of its founder, Peter Cundill. In low to middle-income countries like Sierra Leone, PC Foundation supports organizations that are increasing learning adjusted years of schooling (LAYS) through wider access to and/or quality of basic education.  

The UBS Optimus Foundation is a grant-making foundation working to break down barriers that prevent children from reaching their potential by funding leading organizations to improve the health, education, and protection of children. 

“UBS Optimus Foundation has previously supported education work in Sierra Leone through various partners. However, this direct investment in government through DSTI enables us to drive evidence-based policymaking and research in the educational sector,” said Dr. Moinina David Sengeh, Chief Innovation Officer.

“The only way we can transform education- through data, innovation, and policymaking-is to focus on the learning outcomes for the children. This grant will support DSTI and partners to evaluate learners directly and also test new innovations and programs that will support the government’s flagship program in education.”

The government of Sierra Leone launched its Free Quality School Education Program in August 2018; the first year focused on access. Year two, which began in August 2019, is where the Education Innovation Challenge (EIC) comes in.

In October 2019, five organizations in the education sector were chosen through a competitive process to implement their innovative approaches to improve learning outcomes in Sierra Leone. 

Save the Children-Sierra Leone, Rising Academy Networks, EducAid, National Youth Awareness Forum Sierra Leone (NYAFSL), and World Vision International, are working in 170 schools randomly selected across all regions for the 2019-2020 school year. 

The Human Capacity Development Incubator is a hub for local start-ups, private, public, and academic organizations to collaborate on projects that will help citizens access government services and information more efficiently. At the HCD, partners share data, build models, develop hypotheses, and test pilot projects to inform government investments in human capital.

In July 2019,  the HCD Incubator received a $582,626 grant from the New Venture Fund for Global Policy and Advocacy.  In November, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the HCD Incubator a $773,476 grant for DSTI’s Integrated GIS Portal.

Blog

No citizen left behind – Sierra Leone develops a smart new direction towards innovation

FREETOWN – Sierra Leone’s Directorate for Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI) has unveiled a national vision to digitize the way the government manages its resources and how citizens receive services.

Dr. Moinina David Sengeh , chief innovation officer checks the 3D printer on stage for the launch of Sierra Leone’s National Innovation and Digital Strategy – 1 November 2019 at Bintumani Conference Centre in Aberdeen, Freetown.

President Julius Maada Bio officially launched the National Digital and Innovation Strategy (NIDS) in Freetown on Friday, 1 November. He hopes it will boost and quicken Sierra Leone’s human capital development.

DSTI, which celebrated its first anniversary this week, is the agency that provided the technical know-how for Sierra Leone’s plan to go from analog to digital over the next 3 to 10 years. The foundation for digitization under NIDS comes after eight months of consultation with government and civil society leaders, donors, international actors, and citizens. A delegation from Sierra Leone also took a learning tour to Estonia-recognized global leaders for state-led digitization and e-governance. 

“What I have learned in engagement with innovators, and technologists from MIT, TED and here within Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation is that if we are open to exploring new ideas, and innovatively doing things, we not only gain a better understanding of our development challenges but we also solve the problems affecting our people,” said President Bio. 

Sierra Leone has a population of 7 million, with 57% living in poverty. Out of 188 countries, it is ranked 184 on the United Nations 2018 Human Development Index. Other countries with the same GDP per capita rank better on the HCD Index. The country’s medium-term development plan notes that public service delivery does not meet the population’s basic needs for developing human capital. 

Over 55% of households in Sierra Leone own a mobile phone, and it is this fact that makes digitization plausible. Citizens can already access a DSTI Integrated Geographical Information System (iGIS) to retrieve information about public service infrastructure. With the iGIS Portal, citizens can use Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) to send an SMS to the shortcode *468# to locate government services-‘find my nearest school,’ ‘hospital,’ or ‘local court,’ saving time and in cases of emergency facilitating life-saving interventions.

Sierra Leone is embracing digitization so that no citizen gets left behind. It hopes to have every national own a digital ID. All government employees, ministries, departments and agencies, and national assets will also be digitized. Banking and financial services will also be digitized-the latter already underway as of August when Sierra Leone became the first country to deploy blockchain digital ID platform to make financial services accessible to the unbanked. 

With NIDS, the government will better understand when, how, and where to provide services, and more importantly, which services will deliver the most impact towards the HCD. 

For the vision to become a reality, the government’s leaders must embrace the change, said the Chief Innovation Officer. 

One government agency already leading the way is Statistics SL – the agency that collects, stores, and analyzes demographic data to inform decision making. NIDS enables researchers at Stats to launch a Comprehensive Health and Epidemiological Surveillance System (CHESS)-a longitudinal study that will follow participants throughout their life. CHESS relies on e-ID to link data from health facilities to community-level information.

“We struggled to create the electronic identification system in other countries like Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Burkina Faso, India and Vietnam where we implemented CHESS for research,” said 

Sierra Leone’s Statistician-General, Professor Mallam O. Sankoh, a global expert on development research and data for decision making.

Sierra Leone’s government aims to be fully underway on its digitization journey by 2023. Over five million citizens already have a digital ID that unlocks with their thumbprint. DSTI has developed a fleet management system that tracks and manages government vehicles to stop the kind of loss that occurred in 2018 when thousands of cars belonging to the state went missing.

25-year-old Jane Williams from Cole Farm, who works at a local media company, said that to her digitization matters because of accountability.

“This will also give citizens peace of mind knowing we can use digital data to monitor officials in terms of corruption,” said Williams at Bintumani Conference Centre after the launch of NIDS.

“Sierra Leone doesn’t lead in many things, but today with DSTI and the launch of NIDS, we can say we lead with technology for development.”

Blog

Sierra Leone to launch bold new digitization strategy

Dr. Moinina David Sengeh has announced that Sierra Leone will launch a National Innovation and Digital Strategy (NIDS) at Bintumani Conference Centre at Aberdeen on Thursday, 31 October 2019. 

The  Chief Innovation Officer shared this news with stakeholders from various Ministries Department and Agencies, private sector partners, Academic Institutions, NGOs, and donor partners who met to review and make contributions to the NIDS document at State House yesterday. 

When the National Innovation and Digital Strategy is launched next week, it will provide the framework, plan, and policy recommendations for the adoption of digital technology for national development. NIDS was developed over the past 18 months by the citizens and the Government of Sierra Leone in collaboration with relevant policy, technology, and research institutions in the public and private sectors. 

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Njala University Joseph Sherman Kamara, said the NIDS would uplift Sierra Leone’s development and help institutions like Njala tap into the benefits of digitization for education.

“For our institution, the strategy means that we now have a national framework document that guides our work to prepare students for the emerging job market,” said Dr. Kamara.

Also present at the meeting were representatives from private financial institutions and telecommunications providers. The General Secretary at Orange Sierra Leone, Haffie Haffner, said the NIDS aligns with the telecommunications industry’s drive to improve connectivity. 

“We launched the digital revolution because we believed right back then that digitization is the way forward to the development of the country,” said Ms. Haffner.

DSTI held the meeting to gain from the knowledge and experience of key partners in the innovation technology ecosystem. The success of NIDS depends mainly on collaboration and inclusiveness. In preparation for the development of NIDS, DSTI and several GoSL leaders traveled to Estonia to learn from the Estonia Governance Academy; DSTI staff went to all 16 districts in Sierra Leone with the National Commission for Children engaging with children on topics of robotics and innovation; and worked with international partners in developing leading-edge policies like Child Rights and AI Ethics with UNICEF

“We want everyone here to take ownership of NIDS, it is only then that we can use technology to deliver on Sierra Leone’s national development plan,” said Dr. Sengeh.


Blog

DSTI Sierra Leone to open Innovation Hub thanks to new MoU with IPAM

The University of Sierra Leone’s Institute of Public Administration & Management (IPAM) and the Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI) have agreed to create an InnovationHub. Representatives of the two institutions signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding to shared knowledge, and support local innovation and entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone. IPAM has allocated the fifth floor of its new building for the purposes of the innovation hub. Under the agreement, DSTI will organize educational and social programs and activities that will strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sierra Leone. Speaking at the signing of the MoU Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof Nonie said that DSTI and IPAM had already begun to share knowledge and resources as of last year. Through the relationship with DSTI, IPAM has been able to send faculty to MIT, a global leader for academic research and innovation. “It is a dream come true,” said the acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nonie. Noting that the Hub will offer new opportunities for learning and growth for IPAM students and Faculty. He thanked Dr. David Sengeh for initiating the partnership between DSTI and IPAM. “We hope this starts as an innovation hub, for IPAM, and university students but also for people within the ecosystem, ” said Dr. Sengeh, Chief Innovation Officer, DSTI.

Students at IPAM’s Library (c) Facebook (U-SL IPAM)

“This will be a space for people to learn state-of-the-art tools like Human-centered design (HCD), business models, business process mapping, and hands-on learning. It is to take the curriculum, that’s at IPAM, the excellence in entrepreneurship and business and Administration and put it into practice.” With this partnership, DSTI will bring hands-on learning back to students and create a space for students to seed ideas and develop prototypes. The hub is novel because it fosters collaboration between government, academia, the private sector, and local and international partners. Students from MIT and researchers from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be learning and developing technological solutions in partnership with students and entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone. “In a couple of years, people will be talking about IPAM, as a place where technology, computer science, hands-on learning happens with business management and entrepreneurship in the same way that they talk about MIT, ” said Dr. Sengeh.  
Recent Comments
    About Exponent

    Exponent is a modern business theme, that lets you build stunning high performance websites using a fully visual interface. Start with any of the demos below or build one on your own.

    Get Started
    Subscribe to our Newsletter
    Privacy Settings
    We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
    Youtube
    Consent to display content from Youtube
    Vimeo
    Consent to display content from Vimeo
    Google Maps
    Consent to display content from Google
    Spotify
    Consent to display content from Spotify
    Sound Cloud
    Consent to display content from Sound