AS Tanzania battles to ensure its economy becomes part of the world’s competitive economies taking advantage of emerging digital technologies, a positive and heartening statement was made about the importance of local start-ups, creative entrepreneurs and private companies that are deeply involved in the information, technology and communication (ITC).
Many believe until now owners of start-ups, for example, have never had such encouraging sentiments or an official pledge of that nature.
The comment on the importance of start-ups and companies was made by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology, Dr Mohammed Abdula, on November 6, 2023 in Dar es Salaam when he addressed a special meeting of a newly formed TNBC Digital Transformation Working Group (DTWG).
The DTWG has been formed by Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) because in three consecutive national annual meetings, starting with the 12th one held on June 26, 2021, the council has been emphatic of embracing emerging technologies in order to make Tanzania’s economy relevant to the world. Indeed the 14th held on June 9, this year, TNBC resolved and called for “resolutely using digital transformation opportunities now found in the world to build an inclusive digital economy.” TNBC national meeting are chaired by president of Tanzania.
TNBC’s working groups are chaired by sector permanent secretaries. Therefore, the DTWG will naturally be chaired by Dr Abdula.
Dr Abdula told the committee during its inaugural meeting that it is imperative to encourage innovation and give a chance to start-ups to grow and blossom. “To go steadily towards the national vision on digital revolution, it is important to support seriously innovation and entrepreneurship, start-ups and companies that are involved in the information, technology and communication (ICT),” he commented.
That such a very positive statement on the issue was made by the permanent secretary responsible for promotion of ICT in Tanzania, there is good cause to believe that a cot or a cradle for start-ups to grow and stretch out has been found or is on the way.
Dr Abdula also said their ministry has completed formulation of Tanzania’s 10-year national digital economy framework (DEF) [2023-2033], explaining that the framework will be cleared for use anytime. One has good reasons to believe that Dr Abdula’s statement is a timely statement and members of the DTWG will work on it and enrich it.
Common sense also seems to suggest that innovators, owners of start-ups and owners of companies heavily involved in the ICT will cooperate with the DTWG so that they benefit fully from what is contained in the framework.
Dr Abdula said the DEF was jointly worked out by experts from the public and private sectors using technical group meeting. The meetings were coordinated by their ministry, he said.
The TNBC Executive Secretary, Dr Godwill Wanga, said the TNBC has confidence in the DTWG and believes the committee will deliver.
He said he hopes the committee will facilitate participation of Tanzanians in what is known as Improved Online Livelihood and contribute to its improvement. Further, he said, he hopes the DTWG will ensure Tanzanians become investors in companies that serve the Global Internet Networks, Regional Networks and Local Networks, including international servers in order to block foreign exchange leakages.
Dr Wanga also said he hopes the committee will address itself to critical issues such as Electronic or Digital ID, Mobile ID (simucard-based ID) or Smart ID (Smartphone applications ID), Public-private partnership values, computer and internet cyber resilience, rule of law, avoidance of overregulation that may limit innovations and investments in digital economy at the expense of risks mitigations.
He also named artificial intelligence with pro-human dignity as another issue the committee should pay attention to, adding that the committee should also address the question of reducing costs and hindrances in building broadband backbone, fibre, intercity networks and right of way charges.
About the writer: Peter Keasi is a professional journalist, working as a media consultant and researcher based in Dar es Salaam and he can be reached at email@example.com or +255 713466661.fricans deserve.