ZANZIBAR: THE Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Nape Nnauye has affirmed that Tanzania is on track to achieving its digital transformation goals.

Mr Nape stated this while gracing the closure of the two-day ‘Connect-to-Connect summit 2023’ in Zanzibar, on Sunday.

The summit has enriched the participants with skills and knowledge in addressing connectivity challenges within their respective countries and across Africa as a whole.

He further said: “I trust that you will leverage on the outcomes of this summit to further national and regional efforts aimed at fostering meaningful connectivity, ultimately placing technology in the hands of our continent’s citizens to build inclusive and sustainable communities.”

Equally, the minister informed the audience that Tanzania has gained significant recognition and ranked first in East Africa, third in Africa and 23rd globally on the GovTech Maturity Index (GTMI) by the World Bank.

“These achievements would not have been possible without the establishment of a supportive policy and legal framework, including the enactment of the Personal Data Protection Act of 2022,” he further said.

With the aim of achieving digital transformation, the Minister said Tanzania is currently in the process of developing a National Enterprise Service Bus (NESB), facilitating data sharing between the public and private sectors, along with the establishment of a GovTech Innovation Centre and a Tanzania Service Directory.

He explained that these initiatives will enable both the government and private entities to disseminate information services to the public, adding that “Our revised National ICT Policy for 2023 underscores an inclusive approach to developing citizen-centric digital infrastructures that foster seamless, affordable and accessible delivery systems throughout the country.”

Mr Nnape noted that the updated ICT Policy for 2023 aims to create a robust policy environment to enhance the accessibility, affordability and reduction of the penetration gap for smart devices, including mobile phones and to drive digital transformation.

“It seeks to strengthen the research and innovation ecosystem, encouraging individuals and innovators to generate creative solutions for addressing pressing social issues and also prioritises cyber security and the development of future-ready ICT human resources in the country.”

Dr Khalid Salum Mohamed, Zanzibar Minister for Infrastructure, Communication and Transport said at the Connect-to-Connect summit: “Both the union and Zanzibar have joined with various stakeholders in communication and IT industry to achieve digital revolution that will benefit the citizens in various ways including trade – buying products, advertising and even to distribute those products through a digital system.”

He said that in collaboration with various telephone companies in the country, construction of communication towers has been going on to provide reliable telephone services to everyone in the urban and rural areas, “Currently we have constructed 45 towers and the main aim is to leave no one behind in communication.”

Mr Selestine Kakere, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information Communication and Information Technology (MICIT) joined the two Ministers to thank Extensia, Helios Towers, the joint organising committee, media and sponsors for their pivotal role and tireless efforts in ensuring the success of this significant meeting.

He explained that the two days have spoken loudly that connectivity should always embrace four major components; namely availability, accessibility, affordability and more importantly foster solutions to various socio-economic challenges facing our people.

Mr Kakere said that one of recommendations from the summit is that on digital resilience, Africa has to connect the digital transformation agenda hand in hand with cyber security, “The two are inseparable and should also put efforts in educating the youth on how safe to navigate on social media, but more importantly, working together in addressing issues of cyber security is not an option but a must.

“We are all aware that achieving comprehensive connectivity necessitates collaborative efforts to overcome the multifaceted challenges before us and that Tanzania has made significant progress in creating the necessary environment to realise our vision.”

The deputy PS highlighted that recent statistics indicate a remarkable increase in registered mobile phone subscriptions, rising from 55.7 million in April 2022 to 62.3 million in April 2023, marking an 11.8 per cent surge; Internet users have similarly expanded from 29.9 million in April 2022 to 33.1 million in April 2023, signifying a 10.7 per cent.

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