17 April 2018

Liberia: Best Practice for Digitizing Government Services

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An open letter to H.E. George M. Weah

Dear President Weah:

I applaud your interest in Information Technology (IT) in view of your allocation of funding to computerize student registration at the University of Liberia, and recently the rollout of mobile money tax payment to enable people to pay their taxes via their mobile devices.

While those efforts are worthy, I would urge you to take a broader view of Information Technology (IT) by integrating it with your strategic economic plan. The government under former president Sirleaf started the IT revolution in Liberia by connecting Liberia to the high-speed Internet that connects the West African sub-region to Europe and it was a success. Businesses and consumers are already benefiting from the success of that investment in lower Internet costs, etc.

To continue expanding IT in the public sector, the government needs an IT strategy to deliver technology across the government with efficiency and scale. However, this cannot be accomplished without a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) role. This person will collaborate with agencies of government to design an IT vision and strategy for the government, engage the private sector, and the University of Liberia to promote IT education, etc. Right now, every government agency is doing their own thing which is not the most efficient way to manage IT resources across the government or any large organization for that matter.

Another important aspect of IT is Governance and Security. As the government becomes more digital, the threat of cyber thieves hacking government systems to steal valuable information increases substantially. Without a coherent IT strategy in place, policies do not get developed and implemented, and the government IT systems will be vulnerable to compromise and worse.

Thanks for your time and I wish you great success!

Best Regards,

Philemon George

Liberia

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