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Uniting to bridge digital divide in Africa

LIFE as we know it is no more – the Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted our lives and the digital landscape globally and accelerated digital transformation.

While the mobile community in sub-Saharan Africa responded to this crisis with great tenacity to keep citizens and businesses connected, nearly a billion people on the continent are still being left behind. Remedying this is the seminal challenge of our time.

Today, Vodacom Tanzania PLC is proud to join our teams across Africa in the Vodacom Group and invite governments, industries and businesses as part of our Africa. Connected campaign to further accelerate our digitalisation efforts as we come together to ensure everyone is connected.

This campaign builds on our six-point plan commitment to future-proof our network and infrastructure, accelerate support to government (to support e-Health and e-Education), enhance digital accessibility and literacy for the most vulnerable, promote widespread digital adoption for business, and support our societies to overcome the Covid-19 crisis through targeted digital adoption and enabling financial inclusion.

The economic repercussions of the pandemic have been brutal, with sub-Saharan Africa facing a significant economic crisis. According to The World Bank in Africa, growth in sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to fall to negative 3.3 per cent in 2020, pushing the region into its first recession in 25 years.

To advance Africa’s economic recovery post-pandemic, the continent must accelerate digitalisation and expand regional cooperation. We have an opportunity to transform the entire continent, improving living conditions and economic opportunities for more than 1 billion people.

To support this, Vodacom Tanzania is launching the Africa. Connected campaign. Vodacom Tanzania’s vision is to take the country into the digital age and transform lives through technology.

As such, we are ready to continue to support and work with government, industry and social sector institutions to expand and broaden digital offerings, foster an enabling environment for rapid digitalisation and speed up infrastructure investments.

In November 2020, in his inaugural address to the 12th Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency President John Pombe Magufuli outlined several ambitious and commendable targets for his government over the next 5 years.

Key in these targets were his aims for: -

• Broadband coverage to rise from 45 per cent to 80 per cent

• Increase handset usage to cover the whole country

• Make R&D in ICT a priority

• Make electrification a key component of the country’s energy policy All having the stated aim of growing the national economy to benefit all Tanzanians.

Vodacom Tanzania fully supports these goals and is keen to work collaboratively with the Government and its relevant stakeholders, as well as Non-Governmental and private institutions to make this a reality.

Partnerships with governments, businesses, and organisations, both local and international, are an important cornerstone of continued success in digitalisation. We must continue a collaborative approach to build a future that is fair, inclusive, and sustainable.

Initiatives such as the African Union Commission digital transformation strategy and the UN Digital Cooperation Roadmap provide sensible frameworks for how this could progress.

BANK of Tanzania (BoT) yesterday said it is ...

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Author: HISHAM HENDI

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