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Science, technology crucial for development-minister

12th February 2013
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Prof Makame Mbarawa

Visible, speedy and sustainable development cannot be achieved short of systematic intensive investment in Science and Technology, covering various sectors to transform the country into a competitive modern economy.

The Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Prof Makame Mbarawa was speaking to the media yesterday in Dodoma as he asserted the crucial role that science and technology play in nation building endeavours.

“...we cannot attain meaningful development and alleviate poverty among Tanzanians without heavily investing in this sector…” he stressed.

It is in recognition of this fact that the government has established Dar Teknohama Business Incubator at the Commission of Science and Technology (COSTECH) charged with the responsibility of coordinating and developing various works of innovators in the country.  

According to Prof Mbarawa, almost 40 innovators have already been helped to implement their ideas and bring them to market.  

He noted that the government believes that through the incubator the Nation will produce people with innovative ideas who will go a long way in establishing companies and ventures which will employ many and cut down the employment problems.

The communication sector has, over the years, continued to grow and significantly contribute to the country’s development in terms of offering direct and self employment opportunities as well as raise government revenue in taxes.

According to the Ministry, the sector has been growing at an average rate of 21 per cent for five consecutive years up to 2011 compared to other sectors.  

The contribution of the sector to the National Gross Domestic Product has growing from 1.7 per cent in 2005 up to 2.7 per cent in 2009.  

Statistics shows that over 50 per cent Tanzanians now use telephones compared to only 3 per cent only a few years back.

Also, the number of internet users has grown from an average of 25,000 users in 1999 to 4,800,000 in 2012.    

Through the ‘Communication for All Fund’ that was established through the 2006 Act, all areas without proper communication at the ward and village level have been identified AND are to be served with the services.  

“…since these areas do not attract investors…” explained Prof Mbarawa. “…We have decided to offer subsidies to attract them to these areas and so far the response is promising…” he said.  

Over 50 wards of this nature have been served through the Fund and come end of 2013 all 152 wards with communication challenges will have communication facilities.

From electronic mail to physical mail, Prof Mbarawa also revealed that there is expansion of the Nation’s Post office network there are now 530 offices in 2012 up from 516 in 2005.  

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN