Ousman Bah speaking at the ceremony

By Momodou Jarju
 An Indian Institute of Hardware Technology (IIHT) Gambia Limited, was on Saturday January 19th 2019, inaugurated at Kairaba Avenue.
The Institute is associated with IIHT Technologies, an organization which operates in more than 100 cities across India, and 23 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. IIHT aims to have a skilled workforce of 5,000 people in five years to generate $100 million USD through export of IT services, assist government to reduce unemployment and provide Gambian youth with an alternative to the current “backway” syndrome.
The Institute is accredited by the National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Authority (NAQAA), to offer programs which will be fully accredited by the higher education ministry.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ousman Bah, a Gambian expatriate who left the country for the United States at the age of 18 to pursue his higher education, initiated the institute in the country in collaboration with Indian partners.
Bah said IIHT aims to assist youth, working professionals and the underprivileged, to acquire knowledge and valued skills that would equip them to compete nationally and globally.
“We have to embrace technology. It has become a necessity and not a luxury. Choose one aspect you want to embrace. It is not so much of what you know, so much of what you do in what you know,” he said.
Nothing could have been more rewarding Bah said, than to have a graduate of IIHT Gambia Limited, to develop software or an application that would change the life of Gambians. “I can say this with confidence that it is not a question of if, but when. Everything is transforming to data science, data infrastructure, analytic cloud computing,” he added. Bah, who holds a bachelor’s degree in information technology, said the country has the opportunity now after being left behind for decades, to be recognized in the modern world through engaging on four basic areas: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The tech guru recognized the efforts of people who had contributed towards his success story in instituting IIHT Gambia, including family members, friends, Omar Amadou Jallow alias OJ of PPP (who gave him $2500 prior to his journey to US), and Halifa Sallah, for assisting him in setting up IIHT Gambia Limited, amongst others.
Edrisa Njie representing the Mayor of Kanifing Municipality, said the institution came at the right time; that their doors are open for IIHT if they need any support from the Council.
“We are confident that IIHT coming to Gambia to contribute its quota, will hopeful be a landmark and a record in the annals of the history of this country, regarding IT”, he said.
The Secretary General and Head of Civil Service Ebrima Camara, speaking on behalf of President Adama Barrow, said acquiring IT enriches one’s intellectual abilities and enhances the employability of youth in the country.
Further reading the statement handed to him, Camara said Barrow’s Government cherishes the establishment of IIHT; that IT is part of Barrow’s NDP.
Information, Communication and Infrastructure Minister Ebrima Sillah, said his Ministry fully welcomes IIHT because the Gambia cannot develop when the ICT sector is left behind. Sillah said the country has a huge potential yet to be tapped.
“We believe that we are not even exploiting a quota of our potentials. So, having institutions that would train young people, not only mass training but with quality, will come a long way in enhancing our digital agenda,” he said.
Meanwhile, instructors were given the platform to explain their areas of specialization. A playback video of IIHT India was part of the highlights of the ceremony. IIHT offers some of the following courses: Advanced Computer Fundamentals; Young Genius; Professional Diploma in ITMS (ISMC); Advanced Diploma in JAVA Business Application Developer, etc.

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