Tanzania’s digital transformation agenda gets Unesco support

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What you need to know:

  • This collaboration marks a crucial step in the country’s journey towards becoming a digital hub in Africa, promising substantial benefits for its citizens and various sectors.

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania is set to receive significant support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco) in its transformation into a digital economy.

This collaboration marks a crucial step in the country’s journey towards becoming a digital hub in Africa, promising substantial benefits for its citizens and various sectors.

Unesco has announced its readiness to assist Tanzania in its digital transformation with support focusing on technical assistance and capacity-building to enhance digital skills across the nation.

The organisation’s assistant director of information and communication, Mr Tawfik Jelassi, expressed the organisation’s commitment in a letter to the Tanzanian ICT Commission director general, Dr Nkundwe Mwasaga.

“We are happy to support the Ministry of Information, Communication, and Information Technology of Tanzania and the ICT Commission in improving digital skills for Tanzanians,” reads Mr Jelassi's letter.

He said Unesco was impressed by Tanzania’s swift and determined efforts to achieve a digital revolution.

Its involvement, the letter seen by The Citizen says, is expected to provide valuable technical assistance, especially in building the capacity of Tanzanians to drive the digital agenda forward.

Mr Jelassi highlights that the Unesco Public Competence Framework on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Transformation would serve as a dynamic tool for development, aiding member countries in navigating changes.

To address the digital skills gap, Mr Jelassi recommends a joint needs assessment study by the ICT Commission of Tanzania and Unesco.

He says the study will identify gaps in digital competence within the government and the public, followed by targeted capacity-building interventions.

“In addition to the basics of data management, privacy, cybersecurity, and AI, training for senior officers will focus on more strategic competencies such as collaboration, strategic forecasting, and human-centered public service design,” he explains.

Dr Mwasaga welcomed the organisation's support, noting that it aligns with Tanzania’s ambitious plans for a digital economy.

“Unesco in Dar es Salaam has been supporting the government’s endeavours towards a digital economy, and we look forward to more collaborations that will help the country gain expertise,” he said.

Tanzania’s journey towards a digital economy has been gaining momentum, with significant growth in the communications sector.

For instance, registered SIM cards increased by 16.4 percent, rising from 62.3 million in April 2023 to 72.5 million in April 2024.

Mobile internet subscribers also saw an 11.2 percent surge, from 33.1 million to 36.8 million within the same period. Mobile money service users grew by 19.6 percent, from 44.3 million to 53.0 million.

The Tanzanian government has implemented several initiatives to drive digital economic transformation, including the approval of the National Digital Economy Strategy 2024-2034 and the revised National ICT Policy 2016, which are pivotal steps in this direction.

It has also developed 14 new guidelines aimed at supporting the management of the ICT sector, promoting international standards, digital literacy, and inclusivity.

These initiatives are expected to have a profound impact on the startup ecosystem, driving economic diversification and positioning Tanzania as a tech innovation hub in the region.