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Govt: We`re serious on IT

6th February 2013
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Dr Florens Turuka

The government has reiterated its resolve to continue invest in science, technology and innovation to attain sustainable social economic development.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology, Dr Florens Turuka underlined that the government is taking measures to make sure that the said areas are well developed for the benefit of the country.

“Today’s world calls for heavy investment in these areas and the government has vowed to do just that…” Dr Turuka told journalists in Dar es Salaam.

He noted that one of the measures taken is to strengthen existing academic and research institutions in the country as well as opening new ones.

 “We want to strengthen the academic and research institutions to create a strong cadre of scientists who enjoy international repute…” envisioned the deputy minister.

Giving an example, he reported that the government has already spent Tshs 42 billion in building The Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Tengeru, Arusha region.

Dr Turuka said that, NM-AIST which was opened by President Jakaya Kikwete in November last year and enrolls only masters and PhD scholars to train a pool of professionals in agriculture, water, energy, environment and ICT sectors.

“Already, over 183 students are attending studies from the 2011/12 academic year…” he said.

Also, in March 2012 Mbeya University of Science and Technology (MUST) was established after getting consent from the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU). Enrollment at this centre has risen from 597 in 2005/2006 to 3,125 students in 2012/2013.  

Explaining other measures taken by the government, the Permanent Secretary said that the government  in 2009/2010 sponsored 295 professionals to undertake studies at Masters and PhD levels in five public universities spending at least 6.4 b/-.

The universities that enrolled the sponsored students are University of Dar es Salaam, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) Ardhi University and NM-AIST.

Explaining further measures, he said that an ICT Centre of Excellence was built in 2011 and houses PARAM-Serengeti, a Super Computer with an extremely high processing capacity, one of only three in Africa.  Others are in South Africa and Ghana.

Other measures to encourage innovation are the establishment of the Dar Teknohama Business Incubator with the responsibility of coordinating and developing various works of innovators in the country with some 40 innovators having already received help in implementing their ideas and meeting the market expectations.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN