Ambassador of Ireland to Tanzania, Paul Sherlock made the call over the weekend when speaking at the official launch of the Tanzania Youth Digital Summit (TYDS) aimed at empowering the next generation of digital champions by exposing them to opportunities for up scaling their digital skills as well as opportunities for jobs and income generation in the digital economy.
TYDS is funded by the Ireland Embassy in Tanzania under Irish Aid and is to be implemented by Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT).
According to ambassador Sherlock, the youth population in Tanzania is predicted to reach 15 million by 2030 and every year it is estimated that over 800,000 young women and men enter the labour market.
“This represents a challenge but also an opportunity for Tanzania’s economy. If given the right skills and opportunities, Tanzania’s young women and men, such as those here today, can be a dynamic driver of the country’s industrialization agenda,” he said.
It is for this reason, Sherlock said that last year, the Embassy of Ireland, provided more than €1.3 million (3.4bn/-) in support of a range of programmes designed to empower Tanzania’s young men and women. I expect that this level will increase even further in 2019.
“The digital economy provides an excellent opportunity for young people. Globally, the digital economy is estimated to be worth more than USD 100 trillion and therefore it has an enormous potential for Tanzania both in terms of GDP growth and in the creation of high quality and sustainable jobs,” he said.
He added: “The potential of the digital economy is something of which Ireland is acutely aware. The past six years has seen remarkable growth of the Irish economy, despite a challenging regional and global environment.”
He, however called on all stakeholders with an interest in ensuring that the Tanzania reaps the benefits of the digital economy, keep the empowerment of women and girls are the forefront of the their minds.
“I called on Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), Smartlab, Worknasi, and CEO Roundtable of Tanzania, ICT Commission, Tanzania Developers Community (TDC),IPF Softwares, WS Technology Consulting and others stakeholders engaged in ICT sector to engage women and girls in digital economy,” he said.
The envoy suggested the need to empower them because there is a robust evidence base which shows that investing in women’s economic empowerment can be a powerful catalyst for increasing an economy’s competitiveness and ensuring sustainable economic growth.
“We know that women in Tanzania face particular barriers to engaging in the digital economy. For example, family and household responsibilities impose disproportionate time constraints which make it harder for women and girls to develop their digital skills or pursue further education,” he said.
“Also women are faced with the challenge of overcoming stereotypes about their abilities and suitability to work in the technology sector.