President Bio opened the The Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation – DSTI building just over 2 years ago. That day, though the building was ’empty’, our desire, dreams and aspirations were full. Words of AI, 4IR, Drones, Digital etc were mentioned that day. Many said we couldn’t even walk and yet we wanted to fly. Yes, we had the ability to dream and we knew that it is possible for Sierra Leone to solve its greatest challenges quicker and better precisely because we would use technology, data and innovation.

Today, some of those dreams are not just real but they are changing lives now and forever. Here are some examples just from today.

1. I woke up to a citizen Memuna Forna observing that she had used more online services the last few months than the preceding 5 years. This pleased me in ways she may not have known. My family uses apps to shop for vegetable and fruit groceries and I constantly pay for services via mobile money like many other Sierra Leoneans. These technologies are available for all classes.

2. Today we formalised our agreements with Macro-eyes to introduce AI to Sierra Leone COVID response, making it faster and easier to understand health system capacity. This is another win for our ICT Data COVID-19 response. We are doing it with MoHS, MIC and other partners. This is in addition to the many other technologies and solutions we have introduced in our response. This relationship happened because of our partnerships/relationships with MIT and others.

3. Today, we got more resources to support a private sector partnership to develop a concept for a full scale Medical Drone Supply network in Sierra Leone. The extra resources came from the Gates Foundation… more details soon.

No one will fault us for dreaming. President Bio dreamed for Sierra Leone in ways some people couldn’t imagine because he does believe, like many of us that #PaopaSaloneMusBetteh

Exciting future ahead

David Moinina Sengeh is the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and Chief Innovation Officer for the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation in Sierra Leone.