As Libya tries to get itself out of the quagmire that resulted from an ugly civil war and the gruesome bludgeoning to death of its leader, Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, ICT is one of the areas of focus. Libya’s once aggressive deployment of fiber optic infrastructure by several telecommunication companies was disrupted by the chaos, putting Libya well behind many other African countries. In order to rejuvenate the deployment of its ICT infrastructure, Libya has approached the ITU seeking assistance to establish world-class ICT facilities in the country.
Heading the Libyan delegation, the Minister for Communications and Informatics, Mohamad Benrasali asked for ITU’s assistance in preparing a document to modernize its ICT infrastructure in Libya to “not only world class level, but to world-leading standards.” Mr. Benrasali said, “The Libyan ICT sector poses several opportunities as well as challenges that can potentially result in significant economic growth, job creation, and transformation of government services, among other possible impacts.”
Mr Benrasali indivated that the policy document would focus on establishing a regulatory framework to encourage investment in developing the Libyan ICT sector and that capacity building would be an integral part of the plan.
Mr Benrasali also noted that the Libyan government is focusing on e-government as a sustainable tool for public service delivery and that the government’s ‘e-Libya initiative’ is aimed at rejuvenating the administration. “The e-Libya initiative is based on smart applications and has a number of strategic objectives that aim to build a knowledge-based economy through ICT,” Mr Benrasali said. E-Libya initiatives include open government, e-government, e-commerce and e-education.
“I am delighted to see Libya coming back on the world stage, and seeing the enthusiasm of its new leaders who have an impressive depth of knowledge of ICTs, I am confident the country will quickly emerge as a leading player in the ICT sector and bridge the digital divide in the country,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “Establishing a regulatory framework will spur growth in ICT development in Libya and ITU will take immediate measures to share best practices and to ensure that steps are taken in the right direction.”
The Libyan government has put together a timeframe of two years to reach its objectives of modernising the ICT sector. ITU has committed to sending an assessment mission to Libya. The Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau Mr Brahima Sanou said, “It will be a challenge to meet the ambitious goals set by Libya, but I believe it is within our reach.”
The Libyan delegation also met with the Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau Mr François Rancy and the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau Mr Malcolm Johnson and discussed issues related to the critical areas of broadband development and spectrum management.