COSTECH, TCRA want local smart phone factory

17May 2021
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
COSTECH, TCRA want local smart phone factory

GOVRNMENT agencies are working on plans for setting up a factory to produce low-cost smart phones as part of an ambitious plan to ensure 80 percent of Tanzanians have access to digital communication services by 2025.

Setting up the industry will go hand in hand with expansion of the telecommunications fibre network, also called the broadband backbone to reach most rural areas not accessed by mobile phone firms.

Dr Amos Nungu, managing director of the  Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) made this affirmation at a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday ahead of the Innovation Week setting off today up to Saturday May 22.

Themed “Innovation for a Resilient and Inclusive Digital Economy,” this year’s show has been organized by the Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) in collaboration with COSTECH and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

He said the theme reflects the government’s targets to attain planned Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development goals, noting that initiatives taken include making ICT issues an independent ministry.

He said that the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) had recently advertised a tender for various stakeholders ready to establish a smart phone factory and sell the sets at affordable prices.

Such a move has the capacity to ease access to high level digital communication and create a number of job opportunities, he stated.

He referred to government policy to identify and develop various instances of innovation, with the CCM Election Manifesto for 2020/2025 laying emphasis on the development of ICT and making it even more accessible.

“A lot has been learnt during and after the Covid-19 outbreak during which some activities had to stop and many students failing to continue with lessons for lacking digital technology in proximity,” he said.

The commission is working to ensure in the coming years the science and technology competitions are conducted right from the district to the national level to identify innovators. The government extend sponsorship to develop them, he emphasised.

HDIF Resident Director Joseph Manirakiza said seven years since the establishment of Innovation Week, the show has covered more than nine regions, and presently the government was backing the development of innovation.

UNDP’s Head of Cooperative Economy, Emmanuel Nko said innovation is one of the levers to attain fast development and increase employment opportunities, especially among the youth.

“Innovation has created jobs to many youths, using technology to advertise their businesses and to add value,” he said, pointing out challenges, including existing legislation.

“But through this platform we shall know what to do to rectify them,” he added.

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