Bio Opens Orange Sponsored Tech Summit

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By Lawrence Williams

The bustling three-day Sierra Leone Innovates Tech Summit kicked off in Freetown on Tuesday, drawing over 100 delegates from fifteen diverse countries worldwide. The vibrant gathering convened at the Freetown International Conference Centre, igniting discussions, brainstorming sessions and idea exchanges to shape the digital and technology landscape within Sierra Leone.

At the heart of this electrifying summit sponsored by Orange Sierra Leone is the vision to cultivate a vibrant and interconnected ecosystem that nurtures technological advancement, drives digital inclusion and infrastructure development, and empowers the youth to unleash their creative potential, thereby opening the doors to global employment prospects.

Salima Bah, the country’s minister of Communication, Technology and Innovation, passionately champions these initiatives towards enabling the country’s technological progression.

The primary objective of this summit is to position Sierra Leone as a trailblazing technology and innovation hub, spotlighting countless opportunities and a supportive environment conducive to business expansion, she said. The ambition is to project Sierra Leone as a sought-after destination that fosters innovation, incubation, and accelerated growth, thus heralding a new era of transformative possibilities.

With unwavering enthusiasm, Ms. Bah emphasized how this summit would fuel entrepreneurship by implementing forward-thinking policies and robust mechanisms, equipping businesses with the tools to thrive amidst the ever-evolving market landscapes.

“We’re charting a course for Sierra Leone’s Tech Future,” Minister Bah declares.

Excitement filled the air at the summit as Starlink made its official debut in Sierra Leone, marking the country as the 100th market for the renowned global satellite internet network.

In a captivating keynote address, President Julius Maada Bio underscored Sierra Leone’s pivotal role in shaping the digital landscape of the future, urging the nation to transcend the confines of mere end-users in the 4th Industrial Revolution and seize the boundless opportunities technology offers to revolutionize service delivery.

President Bio lauded his government’s strides in fostering innovation and technology, from the establishment of the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation to the pioneering Ministry of Communication, Technology and Innovation. He highlighted transformative initiatives such as the Fintech Sandbox program and the establishment of the first Drone Corridor in West Africa. The president underscored the pivotal role of technology in enhancing social services across education, health, financial services and beyond, emphasizing that innovation must not merely captivate but fundamentally enhance service delivery.

Addressing the nation’s crossroads of challenges and opportunities, President Bio emphasized the critical role of leveraging technology to navigate the unfolding digital ecosystem.

He said: “Sierra Leone, like many other countries in the region, stands at a crossroad of unprecedented opportunities but equally faced with daunting challenges. Since we cannot eliminate ourselves from the digital ecosystem, we must position ourselves to explore the opportunities that these innovations and technologies present.”

A highlight of the summit was the presentation of tech companies’ solutions, including Sierra Leone’s ambitious Tech City project, capturing the essence of the country’s forward-thinking approach.

President Bio further engaged in a tour of Sierra Leone’s digital prowess at various exhibition booths, with Orange Mobile Company shining brightly on his radar. The summit continues to buzz with energy, featuring a lineup of exhibitions, panel discussions, and presentations. Notably, Orange Sierra Leone, a key sponsor, will host curated sessions offering aspiring innovators, students, and entrepreneurs hands-on experiences with the company’s cutting-edge products and services. Participants can seize opportunities for scholarships in professional web design courses and enriching learning experiences through Cusera.

The summit pulsates with energy and excitement, offering a platform for collaboration, innovation, and inspiration that transcends borders and propels Sierra Leone towards a brighter technological future.

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