Driving this effort requires a unique skill set and expertise combined by the passion to see technology taken to every stratum of the Liberian society.
Darren D. Wilkin, a product of Hodges University with a Master’s in Applied Computer Information Technology, unravels the missing link to getting the vision realized.
Darren, author of the book “A Digital Liberia”, was appointed by the Board of Directors of LIBTELCO as Managing Director following the resignation of Mr. Sebastain Muah to lead the government’s effort to take technology to the doorstep of every Liberian.
Before joining LIBTELCO, Dr. Darren Wilkins worked as ICT Consultant at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications under a World Bank funded project- the West Africa Regional Cable Implementation Program or WARCIP; Expert ICT Consultant –Governance Commission. He holds 8 degrees in ICT: one doctorate in Computer Science/Enterprise Information Systems; 3 masters in Information Systems Management, business administration, Applied Computer Information Technology (Summa Cum Laude); 1 bachelor in Management- Information Systems Concentration; 3 associates in Applied Computer Programming and Applications, Applied Networking Services Technologies; as well as 7 ICT certifications with over 26 years in the ICT sector.
An accomplished ICT Professional, Darren describes the impact of information and communications technologies on the future of Liberia. Emerging from a fourteen-year civil war and more than 150 years of underdevelopment, poverty, and illiteracy, Liberia is presently behind the development curve with respect to modern and emerging technologies.
Even so, A Digital Liberia addresses six critical sectors in which ICT can play an important role: education, government, business, agriculture, security, and healthcare. Wilkins delineates strategies that will bring a paradigm shift in the Liberian society and identifies broadband through submarine fiber optic cables located in and around Africa, Africa, along with pointing out mobile technologies, open source software, cloud computing, and green IT as those technologies that will catalyze Liberia's entry into the Digital Economy.
A Digital Liberia, one of the most optimistic literatures on a developing country, represents an unprecedented effort by an African-born author to outline plans for economic development through ICTs.
He will oversee the IMAGINE initiative which is an innovative space created at colleges and universities to ignite creativity that will enhance the development and advancement of entrepreneurship for Liberians in the new global knowledge focus economy.
According to corporate information gathered on CLASS, its focus is to support and complement institutions and other government programs. The project seeks to establish computer labs in every public high school in the country. This bold and forward thinking effort will boost students’ access to research materials, science and mathematics learning tools and computer science.
In continuation of the implementation of CLASS and IMAGINE projects, LIBTELCO will dedicate two additional topnotch E-learning centers separately at the E. Jonathon Goodridge High School in Barnesville Estate and Gabriel Kpolleh High School in New Georgia.
In remarks, the new Managing Director of LIBTELCO said he is upbeat about the opportunity to lead the technological revolution through “CLASS”. He indicated that the project intends to bring ICT to the under privileged population of Liberia so as to bridge the digital divide and prepare the country’s future leaders for competition in the global economy.
“LIBTELCO’s quest to establish CLASS E-learning centers at all public schools in Liberia remains in tight. We will work with all public schools... We look forward to seeing the E-learning centers benefit our students in various communities where they are located. This project intends to allow students have access to the fiber submarine internet that the government invested heavily in. It will enable them experience true high speed internet,” the ICT guru intimated.
For his part, LIBTELCO’s Project Manager, Ralph Nemenla Sonkarlay, said the resignation of former MD Muah has no negative impact on the overall vision and objective of the institution, adding: “the appointment of Darren who is a well-versed ICT professional will obviously increase our pace to achieve the targeted goals. He stated "anyone can provide computer but not just anyone can provide the quality of internet at these centers.”