THE government is taking measures aimed at realising its digital agenda by creating enabling environment which will ensure that no one is left behind in the digital economy.
The Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) Director General, Dr Amos Nungu said the government is aware that technology and innovation are keys to improved efficiency and productivity, that is why it has prioritised it in the Third National Five Years Development Plan.
The DG made the remark in Dar es Salaam yesterday during a media symposium held ahead of the Innovation Week Tanzania scheduled to take place from tomorrow (May 17) to May 22 this year.
IWT has been organised by Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) in collaboration with COSTECH and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Dr Nungu said that the government has purposely formed the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in order to allow the country to cope with the changes occurring in the sector.
He further said that Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) election manifesto has also set a target to ensure that 80 percent of the country is covered by the national fibre- optic backbone by 2025 in order to increase access of the service to the rural population.
He said that last month Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) announced a tender to invite various stakeholders who it can partner with to establish a smartphone assembly factory in the country.
"When we say that the national fibre- optic backbone should reach 80 percent of the population, we should also make sure that ICT devices such as smart phones are available in the country at affordable prices,” Dr Nungu said.
According to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology tasked with managing the national fibre- optic backbone, it targets to cover 80 per cent of the country by 2025 from the current 45 per cent and increase internet use from 43 per cent to 80 per cent.
HDIF Country Director Joseph Manirakiza said the theme for this year’s IWT titled “Innovation for a Resilient and Inclusive Digital Economy” is in line with the government’s digital agenda.
He said that digital economy is currently the main agenda as the world goes through the fourth industrial revolution which is more based on technology.
“As a country we cannot afford to be left behind, as you remember, when President Samia Suluhu Hassan addressed the Parliament, she said Tanzania cannot be left behind when it comes to issues related to digital economy,” he said.
He added that as innovation stakeholders, they have chosen digital economy as the theme for this year’s innovation week but it is incomplete and not inclusive, that is why it also stresses on including everyone in the society, including special groups such as women, youth, people with disabilities and children among others.
Mr Manirakiza said that the purpose of IWT is to provide space to innovators, policy makers, funders, researchers and other players in innovation ecosystem to share what they have been working on, learn from and inspire each other, collaborate cross sectors and transform Tanzania through the scaling innovation.
“The week aims at inspiring the current and future leaders in Tanzania to take risks on new ideas, collaborate across sectors and transform Tanzania using innovation,” he said.