Systems Approach to Building ICT Government Capability is Yielding Results in Liberia
Prior to support provided by USAID under Digital Liberia, each Government of Liberia entity pursued its own IT initiatives without coordination with others. The result was a splintered and duplicative set of systems that were wasteful and inefficient.
Through the Digital Liberia activity, IBI supported a new CIO Council that convenes IT officials from across government to address this problem. The council has created government-wide standards and procedures for new IT systems. An intensive CIO training course was successfully completed by 46 government IT specialists in November 2019 as part of the comprehensive capacity building effort. The four-month training course taught the senior IT professionals from across the GOL the core functions of the CIO role. Classroom sessions, video conferences, business cases, and mentoring provided insights into the tasks involved in conceptualizing, designing, and implementing e-Government projects. The trainees gained an understanding of the critical success factors in implementing ICT initiatives and got exposure to the technology infrastructure and architecture needed to implement e-Government services.
The result of these efforts has been dramatic improvements in the government’s use of technology to deliver services and communicate with citizens. One example of such an improvement is in the area of IT help desks. In the past, each ministry tried to buy and maintain its own system for responding to IT support requests. These often failed due to budget shortages and turnover of trained personnel. The CIO council addressed this problem by creating a centralized help-desk platform shared by all ministries. The platform is a single point of contact where users from various MACs and working with online government services can log their issues. This helps save a lot of time and efforts as the users do not have to login to different applications for different issues. As the Republic of Liberia’s CIO, Hon. Sekou Kromah, recently said: “The heads of IT at the [ministries, agencies and commissions] are now focused on leveraging existing GOL ICT systems to make their MACs more innovative, efficient and responsive. This is a remarkable improvement”.