The fiber backbone infrastructure is expected to stimulate economic growth by opening up opportunities for investors and users of local and foreign telecommunications services.
Opening the fifth annual ICT conference in Arusha yesterday, the premier said that expansion of the national broadband will help accessing communication services in every corner of the country and thus contribute to development.
“The allocated funds for the 2021/22 fiscal year will enable the construction of 4,244-kilometers of the communication broadband network, thus reaching 12,563 kilometers countrywide, he said.
The government’s goal is to enable telecommunications service providers to use the infrastructure to improve services and facilitate internet access in poorly served public offices and private sector establishments.
“The government values efforts of our stakeholders including the development partners in stimulating ICT-based investments,” he said, touching on the private sector as the engine of the country’s economy, “so we will continue working with them closely to improve the ICT sector.”
Technological changes around the world make ICT take centre stage in service provision, so the government decided to invest heavily in the sector and supervise it to ensure that all services provided are in line with the country’s ICT Policy of 2016, he stated.
“The government has so far built 8,319 km of national communications broadband. Our goal is to construct up to 15,000km by 2024/2025,” he asserted.
ICT infrastructures are the backbone of digital development, so the country needs to increase the number of internet users to more than 80 percent of potential users nationwide from the current 45 percent, delivering quality and affordable services to all users, he stated.
The premier also launched a national guideline for registration of information communications technology (ICT) experts to improve the way the profession is organised, along with facilitating the promotion and elevation of arts, science and general ICT knowledge countrywide.
He instructed the ICT Commission to ensure that it puts in place specific strategies to register ICT professionals so as to achieve the target of enrolling 5,000 professionals by 2025.
“The Ministry of Information, Communications and Information Technology should also work with the private sector to increase operational efficiency,” he urged, noting that the ministry and the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) need to consider the possibility of working with large companies in the sector to ease the work of building a digital economy.
Dr Ashatu Kijaji, the minister for Information, Communications and Information Technology said that registering ICT professionals is continuing since 2019 “and the exercise is going well.”
She reiterated commitment to developing ICT experts as they are key people in attaining the country’s ambitious industrial economy agenda. Recognition of ICT experts was in line with the National ICT Policy 2016 which provided that ICT was central to competitive social and economic transformation.
For a long time experts supervising ICT infrastructure, service and systems had unclear credibility and integrity levels, the minister asserted,. Noting that moving towards industrialization in the information age requires exploitation of digital technologies and high-tech systems.
“The registration process shall facilitate promotion and elevation of the arts, science and general knowledge of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Tanzania, and, in particular, to advance and represent the interests as well as the development and professionalism of all those practicing in the ICT industry,” she declared.
The government is also planning to construct a centre of excellence for ICT in Dodoma, she asserted, noting the president’s affirmations in that regard.
The conference is one of the largest consultative events for ICT industry players in Tanzania, offering a unique platform for capacity building, policy dialogue, business investors’ networking, experience and knowledge sharing on global ICT issues and business opportunities, setting out knowledge and skills needed to cope with the dynamic digital ecosystem.