dr Nkundwe Mwasaga, the director-general, said yesterday that the study, titled A National Assessment of Internet Development in Tanzania and its Impact on Different Sectors, will last three months.
The $35,975.03 (83.78M/-) billed project is part of the International Program for the Development of Communications (IPDC) and the Multi-Donor Fund for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP), the overseen by the country office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), she said.
It will also help assess available internet connectivity and usage in terms of its inclusiveness, how much it contributes to various development initiatives, she said, noting that the commission expects the findings will help the commission formulate robust strategies to advance ICT – Develop growth.
Government and advocacy groups are working to expand network and internet access from 50 percent of the population to 80 percent by 2025.
ICTC and the UNESCO country office yesterday signed an agreement to work together to conduct the study, in which UNESCO country representative Michel Toto said the study would be linked to UNESCO internet universality indicators.
National Internet Universality Assessments aim to share best practices in voluntary assessment of the Internet environment at the national level, he explained. Tailored for national use, the indicator framework aims to improve individual local internet environments by presenting achievements and gaps identified in assessments. “So it’s not about comparing countries,” he stressed.
The project directly responds to an appeal by President Samia Suluhu Hassan for UNESCO to engage with local organizations in activating knowledge societies in the country, made during a visit to UNESCO’s headquarters in the French capital of Paris in mid-February last year. he specified.
The study similarly builds on the outcomes of advocacy initiatives by various national-level pacesetters such as Neema Lugangira (Special Seats-Kagera) to ensure the digital space in Tanzania is safe and inclusive for all, he said.
The study will provide policy recommendations and practical initiatives that will enable the country to improve its internet ecosystem as advanced ICTs continue to develop, he explained.
“The study is unique in Tanzania and can further guide us on how Tanzania can best benefit from promoting the use and visibility of Kiswahili in the digital space in Tanzania, the region and beyond,” he emphasized.
The MP, who chairs the African Parliamentary Network on Internet Governance, said the growth of the internet is having a positive impact on many aspects of society, including education, business and personal communications.
More coordinated efforts are needed to ensure that the digital space brings more positive outcomes for people and the country, she said.
The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) shows Internet usage in Tanzania rose 4.2 percent from 29.8 million cable users in 2021 to 31.1 million last September.
The increase in internet users shows an annual growth of 17 percent for five years from 2017, when the country had 16.1 million internet users. By the end of 2021, the number had risen to 29.1 million.
The increasing use of Kiswahili also explains the rise as Kiswahili content is increasing rapidly on the web and applications in Kiswahili are also increasing. “This is due to efforts to spread the use of Kiswahili internationally,” the TCRA report confirmed.