TANZANIA is one of the African countries that will benefit more from China- Africa Partnership Plan on Digital Innovation if agreed and implemented by both parties.
According to last year’s United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) assessment report, Tanzania is well positioned to integrate into the global digital economy, due to its growing economy and a rapidly developing innovation ecosystem.
Digital economy is very important as it stimulates competitiveness and productivity-boosting opportunities that relates to access to digital products and services that help optimise processes and production, reduce transaction costs, and transform supply chains.
Speaking at the China-Africa Internet Development and Cooperation on the Digital Innovation Forum last week, China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Deng Li said, the plan focuses on new business forms such as digital economy, smart city, and 5G.
UNCTAD’s assessment of the country’s readiness to engage in e-commerce has revealed Tanzania’s potential to become a leading contender in online trade in east Africa, especially on mobile finance and digital payment fronts.
However, the lack neither of a national e-commerce strategy and mainstreaming e-commerce into its national and sectoral development plans nor into interministerial or public-private sector dialogue, is holding Tanzania back, the UNCTAD assessment observed. This is where the importance of China- Tanzania digital economy lies.
The duo need to work together to enhance Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) infrastructure. The Chinese company Huawei has already laid out a strategy in building a better connected Tanzania by improving and promoting ICT knowledge and awareness to the government, academic institutions and members of the general public, as well as focusing on capacity building, infrastructure, policy and a legal framework and public relations activities.
The aim is to create skilled labour that is also facilitated by its advancements in Huawei ICT development, that once shared professionally Tanzania will realize the dream of industrial and economic growth fast enough.
For Tanzania to benefit from the Chinese digital economy it needs, other things, to create a conducive legislative climate and provide incentives to startups as well as crafting a national e-commerce strategy.
However, Tanzania government is in great support of Chinese digital economy and technology. In December last year, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa commended Huawei Tanzania for improving ICT skills among Tanzanian students, saying the move will enable them to better utilise ICT skills to fuel the country’s social and economic growth.
The Premier urged local companies dealing with ICT to emulate Huawei’s programme aimed at improving ICT skills amongst the youths as the country embraced the digital economy.
The Premier was echoed by former Chinese ambassador to Tanzania, Wang Ke who said that “ICT industry, as the fundamental leading industry in the digital age, serves as an essential support to the digital transformation of all industries and leads the innovative development of the global economy.”.
China- Tanzania digital economy investments will make the East African country create and implement smart cities. A smart city is a technologically modern urban area that uses different types of electronic methods, voice activation methods and sensors to collect specific data.
Information gained from that data are used to manage assets, resources and services efficiently. In return, that data is used to improve the operations across the city.
This includes data collected from citizens, devices, buildings and assets that is then processed and analyzed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, utilities, water supply networks, waste, crime detection, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services.
Tanzania-China Smart cities are expected to optimise cities functions and promote economic growth while also improving the quality of life for Tanzanians by using smart technologies and data analysis.
The development in ICT or digital economy requires a kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices.
This is the 5G that China is ready to implement in Tanzania and in other African countries. Access to 5G technology will improve more services that affect safety and security of services in Tanzania. Such opportunities include China- Tanzania Digital Innovation Plan important smart cities with 5G in public spaces, the potential for remote surgery, better traffic control and many other applications that depend on nearly instantaneous response time.
In short, 5G technology is important for making Tanzanians as well as businesses succeed as the country implements its industrial policy that aims at creating jobs as well as economic growth.
The plan to be implemented was blessed by President Xi at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 last year.
Moreover, the State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed on it during the African tour last year when he emphasized on the importance of China and Africa to cooperate in building a Digital Africa The forum, hosted by the Cyberspace Administration of China, was attended by ministerial-level officials from African countries and the African Union Commission in charge of digital and telecommunications affairs, diplomatic envoys to China, Chinese and African scholars and entrepreneurs.