Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Digital Inclusion

Tracking Liberia's Transition of Power

Article Image
Liberia is about a week away from its monumental election, where for the first time in 73 years, power is set to be peacefully and democratically handed over to a new government, as President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is set to step down to mark the end of her two terms after being the first president elected after the Liberian Civil War.

Liberia suffered a brutal civil war over 14 years which destroyed lives, infrastructure and development. It ended in 2003 and the first election was 2005. Since then the nation suffered Ebola as well as a crash in its commodities prices.

In Liberia currently, the emphasis is on ensuring a peaceful and transparent election, and technology developers have been playing their part to realise this.

ILab Liberia, a non-profit technology hub in the capital Monrovia that provides tech solutions to civil society organisations and international bodies to promote good governance, citizen engagement and information sharing, has developed a few initiatives for the election.

Carter Draper, programs director for ILab Liberia, says there are a few major projects they have been working on this year, including a 'Promise Tracker.' That is connected with a local media website where a map shows the different districts in Liberia, and within that lists the candidates, with their party affiliation, and a photo where available. Also, where the data is available, people can read the election promises of the candidates.

Since the last election in 2011, ILab has also been supporting Liberia's Early Warning and Response Network, where a network of volunteers throughout Liberia's towns and villages work as eyes and ears for conflict, disputes or illness outbreaks.

"Because it's an early warning system we report on issues of rape, land disputes, tribal conflicts border crossing armed robberies anything violence and we put it into the system.

"People can send their reports via SMS, an app, email or online through the website. The information is then verified and approved at the backend. The system then maps where the reports happen, listed as the specific crime or incident and when it happened.

"At the of the month we come together as a steering committee and we process the information coming in, into severity ranking reports. Those reports are shared with responders to go and mitigate the problems."

The data is used by education, health and security services in Liberia as well as the United Nations, Draper said.

The maps can be embedded in other websites, and people can look through different categories to find hotspots.

When Ebola struck the nation in 2013, they were able to get the reporters to add in data to report cases of the illness in their areas.

For the 2017 election, reports of disputes and violence can already be seen on the map.

"For the election, we are working with them and getting them to report election related issues. Some of them will be able to be observers for the election," noted Draper.

With Liberia still developing, there are many good opportunities to use technology to increase development, and help it leapfrog challenges more developed nations have gone through.

"Tech sits at the core of the development in Liberia... look at the infrastructure of developed versus developing countries. Cities are getting smarter due to access to technology," he said.

Draper is also hopeful this election will bring in a leader who is interested in tech to see it further developed, "so we can speed things up."

Find out more about the startups and innovations facilitating positive societal change in Africa at AfricaCom's AHUB (7 9 November 2017, Cape Town). The AHUB is the meeting place for Africa's startup community, linking business ready entrepreneurs, developers and startups with accelerators, investors, VCs and business mentors. Find out more about the AHUB and how to get involved here.

The biggest African tech and telecoms event in the world, AfricaCom, returns to Cape Town 7 9 November, 2017. Find out more about the 20th anniversary event here.

Attendees are able to access 450 exhibitors and a range of free AfricaCom content by signing up for a free visitor's pass here.

Gain unrivalled access to everything AfricaCom has to offer, including the AFEST music festival by purchasing a delegate pass here.

Be part of the African tech and telco conversation here:
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Instagram

Stacey Knott is a freelance multimedia journalist based in West Africa.

More from Stacey Knott

Innovation hub

Story

AI's impact on African telcos

Many African telecommunications companies are turning to artificial intelligence as a differentiator to improve their mobile networks and enhance customer service and experience as they transition from traditional telco offerings into new tech-first verticals.

Story

Four AI trends to look out for in 2024

Connecting Africa has compiled a list of four artificial intelligence (AI) trends to look out for on the African continent in 2024.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Upcoming events

AfreGov 2024
March 12-14, 2024
Kigali, Rwanda
Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: January 2024

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in January 2024 in the Middle East and Africa included a $200 million fintech deal between MTN and Mastercard as well as 5G network trials by Telecom Egypt – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: September 2023

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in September 2023 in the Middle East and Africa included more 5G spectrum licenses, vendor and operator strategies, and partnerships – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id test-002