ICTs can impact on Tanzania’s ability to achieve SDG

21Oct 2016
Editor
The Guardian
ICTs can impact on Tanzania’s ability to achieve SDG

INFORMATION and communications technologies have the potential to provide new solutions to development challenges, particularly in the context of globalisation, and can foster economic growth, competitiveness, access to information and knowledge, poverty eradication and social inclusion according

The General Assembly in 1972 instituted World Development Information Day to draw the attention of world public opinion to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them.

The Assembly decided that the date for the Day should coincide in principle with United Nations Day, 24 October, which was also the date of the adoption, in 1970, of the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade.

The Assembly felt that improving the dissemination of information and the mobilisation of public opinion, particularly among young people, would lead to greater awareness of the problems of development, thus, promoting efforts in the sphere of international cooperation for development.

In Tanzania, Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly important in achieving development goals and promoting citizen participation. Tanzania is one of number of countries in the southern African region that have sought to include ICTs in their national development plans.

Individuals also benefit from the availability and use of ICTs in many ways – for example, by substituting phone calls for travel, which costs time and money, and by using information on prices, which ICTs can make available, to sell their own produce and to make purchases. In these various ways, ICTs can have a significant impact on a country’s ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extended term for information technology (IT) which stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit and manipulate information.

The term ICT is also used to refer to the convergence of audio-visual and telephone networks with computer networks through a single cabling or link system.

There are large economic incentives (huge cost savings due to elimination of the telephone network) to merge the telephone network with the computer network system using a single unified system of cabling, signal distribution and management.

There are, however, also constraints on the potential impact of ICTs in many developing countries. These constraints include inadequate technical infrastructure, limited human skills to use available networks and services, the relatively high cost of communications equipment and poor policy and regulatory environments. These factors reduce the scope for countries and communities to use ICTs for development and may even increase exclusion and marginalisation.

Tanzania adopted a National ICT Policy in 2003, following a consultative process which involved both government and an influential group of ICT professionals organised as eThinkTankTZ.

This National Policy established areas for action to improve the availability and developmental use of ICTs. In education , Information and Communication Technologies play an increasingly important role in the way we communicate, learn and live.

The challenge is to effectively harness these technologies in a way that serves the interests of learners and the larger teaching/learning community.

However, this National Policy has not been followed up with an agreed national implementation strategy. As a result, no guidance or responsibility has been assigned to any government body, and follow-up at a sectoral level has also been unsatisfactory.

ENDS

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