The government has said it will enhance information and communication technology (ICT) in the country to help entrepreneurs and ICT start-ups transform their ideas into viable business ventures.
This was said in Dar es Salaam yesterday by the Deputy Minister for Communication, Science and Technology January Makamba, during the launch of the first Nokia mobile applications development training programme at the Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) headquarters.
Makamba said the policy framework and structure existed and the main challenge was to enhance ICT in the country.
“We are looking into setting up an innovation fund to support start-ups and entrepreneurs in technology. This should boost start-ups and help them progress economically,” he said.
The minister said the ministry would play its part in putting in place an enabling environment for the growth and enhancement of ICT activities in the country, adding that the challenge was to develop critical ICT human resources at almost all levels with a view to bridging the digital divide.
“My concern is to see that what we do in ICT mobile innovation brings about a positive impact on the lives of our people and communities, helping them economically to realise the Vision 2025,” noted Makamba.
He, however, said he business environment in the country was a challenge to all types of entrepreneurs, but worse to small- and medium-sized ICT start-ups.
“We do need to do more to deal with the challenging and restrictive business registration, licensing and taxation processes. Start-ups sometimes don’t take off because of the sheer magnitude of the red tape. We also need to create a regulatory environment, which is facilitative of the start-ups,” he said.
For his part, Nokia Corporate Relations and Business Environment Vice-President for the Middle East and Africa Jussi Hinkkanen said the company would continue its partnership with Costech and the Dar es Salaam Technohama Business Incubator (DTBI) since it was the major boost for Nokia’s efforts in the country.
“Nokia’s intention is to equip developers with technical knowledge regarding advanced Java development techniques, which will help them create applications for both Nokia mobile phones and a wide range of others,” said Hinkkanen.
He noted that the preliminary training would also set a stage for further collaboration with Nokia and local developers in Tanzania with a view to having mobile applications that plaid a role in the economy of the country and elsewhere.
More than 30 students in the country will participate in the six-week initial training, which aims at equipping a new set of developers with skills to create applications using Java and will also access a wide array of tools to enable them push the boundaries of what is possible with Java-based applications.