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Critical role of ICT sector drummed up

HAVING recognised the importance of ICT investments in achieving socio-economic growth, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) has proposed that the country should adopt the National Information and Communications Infrastructure Plan.

TPSF says the government should focus on establishing an enabling environment to promote the development and growth of Tanzania’s ICT sector and providing world-class communications infrastructure to serve as the backbone for current and future communication related requirements hence, focusing on the development of services by leveraging ICTs to improve the delivery.

“Our goal should be focusing on accelerating service developments through ICTs, thereby facilitating sustainable economic competitiveness and increasing ICT contributions to GDP,’’ said TPSF Head of Digital and Value Added Services, Mr Mugeta Mujungu.

He was speaking here during a working meeting of officials from the government, Private Sector and representatives of higher learning institutions who met to discuss various challenges facing the ICT sector as well as charting a proper plan for collaboration between the government and other stakeholders in the sector.

According to him, the adoption of aggressive ICT developments provides a basis for Tanzania to make a quantum leap forward to become a middleincome nation.

“In order for the ICT to be efficiently and proactively operated and managed, the strategy, plans and policies require alteration and oriented in correlation to the current ICT and socio-economic status.

This therefore calls for a new blueprint for ICT,’’ he added. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Competitiveness Report, Tanzania is currently in the initial economic growth stage of development.

In this stage, the country is focused on providing basic ICT infrastructure to support healthcare and education.

Thus, maximising the return of investment in ICT must consider the application and utilisation of this investment through higher education and training to develop skills and improve capabilities for innovation and higher productivity.

At the meeting that was attended by the Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Atashasta Nditiye and Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Jim Yonazi, Mr Mujungu said the role of the private sector was crucial for the development of a National ICT strategy in terms of both infrastructure investment and driving innovation.

He said the government can facilitate this with creation of a business environment that is conducive to investment.

“The private sector participation will stimulate and build sustainable value chains, which are the basis for shared growth, and reduce the government’s burden to finance and provide the resources for the ICT development,’’ he explained.

He added that the private sector involvement also brings industry expertise and experience necessary to increase the success of the projects implementation, pointing out that the government was actively trying to attract multinational corporations through investment-friendly policies to develop a Techno pole, and also partner with the private sector on specific projects.

“The presence of multinationals should facilitate knowledge transfer, local skills development, and faster innovation,’’ said Mr Mujungu.

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Author: KATARE MBASHIRU in Dodoma

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