TZ ready for AI advent – experts

DAR ES SALAAM: INFPRMATION Communication Technology (ICT) and digital economy experts have unanimously asserted that Tanzania stands fully prepared for the advent of Artificial Intelligence, thanks to the government’s unwavering determination and substantial infrastructure development.

During a recent panel discussion at the Julius Nyerere International Conference Center (JNICC) as part of the ongoing Tanzania Annual ICT Conference (TAIC), the experts shared their experiences and lauded the government’s proactive approach to the digital future.

The panel, themed “Is Tanzania Ready for AI?” featured distinguished members, including General Secretary of ISOC, Ms Pamela Chogo, Secretary General of Tanzania Internet Services Association, Ms Noah Maina, and Mr Frank Habicht from the Tanzania Internet Services Provider Association.

Mr Habicht emphasized the remarkable evolution of internet connectivity, highlighting the transition from the past, where international routing was necessary, to the current efficient local connectivity

“Local connectivity has replaced the need to route connections through foreign centres, enhancing efficiency and reducing the need for international traffic,”he explained.

On her part, Ms Chogo addressed the unique challenges facing developing countries, where they must keep up with advanced nations in AI and 5G technologies.

She stressed that while developed countries discuss advanced concepts, many in developing nations are still focusing on digital basics.

“…the reality that while developed countries delve into advanced concepts, many developing nations are still focusing on mastering digital basics,” Ms Chogo explained.

She encouraged the IT community to recognize AI as a social-technical innovation with profound societal impacts.

The panel also acknowledged the government’s efforts in expanding internet infrastructure, with 750 towers already installed in rural areas and ongoing work to ensure internet connectivity and promote the digital economy.

In response to a question about the education system’s alignment with emerging technologies, Ms Chogo explained that the curriculum is being upgraded to accommodate the changes.

She emphasized the importance of students taking a more proactive role in their digital education.

Tanzania’s path toward AI readiness, driven by infrastructure development, education improvements, and the commitment of the government, signifies a positive trajectory in embracing the digital era and its socio-technical innovations.

Panelists sentiments were much in line with the vision shared by Minister for Information, Communication and Technology Nape Nnauye a day earlier when launching the main TAIC.

When launching the forum, Mr Nnauye highlighted the importance of improving digital infrastructure to achieve a digital economy and also acknowledged the government’s support for private sector initiatives in building digital infrastructure.

He also shared with participants that his ministry was putting much effort in getting infrastructures in place and that he had lately licensed four investors to embark on establishing four data centres in the country.

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