08 October 2020
Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Information and Communication has explained the details of the government’s plan to unbundle the Sierra Leone Cable Network (SALCAB).
Speaking at a press conference, the minister of information and communication Mohamed Rahman Swaray said that the move is part of the broader reforms currently being carried out in the communications sector.
SALCAB’s future has been the subject of much speculation of late following rumours that the entity that regulates internet access in Sierra Leone has been sold. However, the ministry released a statement in which it denied the claims.
Swaray said that the government will remove some of the functions afforded to SALCAB and give the management responsibility to the private sector to ensure growth and increase access to the internet long term.
“We want to inject private sector kind of initiative into SALCAB,” Swaray told the media. “We are not selling it and this is not privatisation. We want the private sector to play a key role in it, that is why we are bringing in a private sector operation and management.”
This reform strategy will also see the government privatise the ACE (Africa Coast to Europe) cable operations and establish a clear regulatory framework for SALCAB since it is a monopoly operator, the ministry said.
The ACE cable, currently managed by SALCAB, is an optical fibre submarine cable that connects Sierra Leone to an internet source that is generated in Europe and passes through the sea across over 20 countries between Europe and Africa.