VP hypes indigenous languages in African digital economy

DAR ES SALAAM: VICE-PRESIDENT Dr Philip Mpango has stressed the need for developing strategies which will ensure Kiswahili and other indigenous languages have a place in the digital economy to enable citizens to participate fully in the sector.

Dr Mpango made the remarks in Dar es Salaam yesterday during the opening of the First International Colloquium on Promoting CrossCultural Linguistic and Economic Diplomacy for Sustainable Futures.

“This conference should focus on how Kiswahili and other indigenous African languages can be used to develop indigenous technologies, stimulate innovation, investment and the growth of diplomacy,” said the VP.

In addition, the VP also said that the conference should help to show opportunities available in the use of indigenous languages to enable young people to acquire various skills and knowledge in preparation for major economic and technological changes within and outside Africa.

The Vice President said that the adoption of Kiswahili as an official language in the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has expanded the scope of Kiswahili use and brought various economic and cultural opportunities.

He said that the conference is important to play a major role in identifying more opportunities and continuing the long history of Kiswahili in building relationships between people of different cultures, languages and economic and social backgrounds.

He said that in the context of the growth and development of Kiswahili, including the preservation of other indigenous languages, cultures and indigenous knowledge systems in East and Central Africa, small and emerging traders “Wamachinga” have made a contribution that must be recognised and appreciated.

“There is need for in-depth research to see how African countries can develop systems that focus on the participation of young people and groups such as self-employed traders in economic diplomacy and business development,” he stressed.

The VP also said that Tanzania has prioritised the promotion of the Kiswahili language, with the aim of making it continue to bring unity, peace and tolerance to the entire African continent.

He congratulated the University of Dar es Salaam for continuing to collaborate with universities and institutions abroad in promoting Kiswahili and cultural diplomacy.

The conference was attended by the former President of Mozambique, Joackim Chissano, the former President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, Diplomats, Policymakers, Businessmen and Industrialists, Religious Leaders, Academics and Heads of Research Institutes, Youth, Women and representatives of various civil society organizations.

The conference was organised by the University of Dar es Salaam in collaboration with the University of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa.

Meanwhile, the African Forum has awarded President Samia Suluhu Hassan for using Kiswahili language to bring the country through the transition period and continue to remain peaceful.

The African Institute in Indigenous Knowledge System (AIIKS) at the University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa Director, Prof Hassan Kaya said Dr Samia used Kiswahili language to develop the country’s economy and business in general.

“President Samia used Kiswahili language to preach peace in the world as well as a mediator, that’s why we are giving her these awards today. Others who received awards are Chairman of the African Forum and the former president of Mozambique, Mr Chissano and the former President of Kenya, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta.

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