From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, GOSL Prepares Fiber Cable Landing Policy Document
By Mohamed Kanu
Nov 12, 2010, 17:02

To demonstrate the actualization of the landing of fiber cable in the country through the African Coast to Europe Submarine Cable Project for Sierra Leone Cable Limited, the Government of Sierra Leone has finally succeeded in preparing the Environmental and Social Management and Resettlement Policy Framework document of the West Africa Communications Infrastructure Programme.  The preparation of the document came to fruition after several months of consultation with the SAL Consult limited, a Ghanaian registered multidisciplinary water and environmental consultancy based in Accra.


In the usual weekly government press briefing yesterday Thursday, the document was presented to members of the Fourth Estate by the Ministry of Information and Communication. 


We could recalled that on the 6th June, 2010 the Sierra Leone Cable Limited (ALCAB) on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone signed the Africa Coast to Europe ACE submarine cable construction and maintenance agreement in the House of Parliament, a process that was boycotted by opposition SLPP Members of Parliament.  The reason advanced by the opposition for staging a walk out on the agreement was that government did not give time to the law makers to properly debate what they referred to as a voluminous document in Parliament.


But government on its part argued that the primary reason for rushing with the preparation of the policy framework document was to meet World Banks environmental and social safeguard policies and international standards demand. The demand requires the recipient country to prepare an Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) (consisting national laws, any applicable policy concerning international water, and OP 4.01) that provides as much information as possible on environmental and social impacts (including possible land acquisition and resettlement) of the project. 


Two sites have already been identified to serve as cable landing stations around the Atlantic Restaurant at Lumley and at the Juba Barracks.

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