Exploitation of Current Developments in ICT to Enhance Implementation of “Kilimo Kwanza” in Tanzania — Yuda Julius Chatama
ICT development in Tanzania
ICT development in Tanzania can be traced back to 1965 when the first computer (an ICT 1500) was installed at the Ministry of Finance; by 1974 there were seven computers in the country (Mgaya, 1994). During that period installation was totally dependent on foreign experts. In some cases these experts were not adequately qualified, and applications tended not to be accurately documented and ran only when foreign experts were around.
The experts left the country mainly due to a political atmosphere which was created by both the Arusha Declaration and nationalization policies. When the application in most cases stopped functioning the government incurred a heavy financial loss and was highly criticized by members of Parliament and the general public. As a result in 1974 the government banned importation of computers and their accessories into Tanzania. The ban was lifted in early 1980s (Mgaya, 1994).
Official statistics indicate positive trends in the country’s ICT sector. By September 2009, there were more than 16,051,647 mobile phones subscribers and 181,671 fixed lines in the country. This is an improvement compared to 3,118,157 subscribers (both mobile and fixed) in the year 2005. The number of telecommunication service operators (Internet Service Provider/Data Operators) increased from 11 in 2000 to 62 operators in 2009 (Tanzania Communications Regulatory Agency, 2009).
There are four characteristics which attempt to define ICTs: these are interactivity, permanent availability, global reach, and reduced costs for many. That is to say, ICTs are effective two–way communication technologies; they are available 24 hours a day; they remove geographical distances; and they shrink the relative costs of communication to a fraction of previous value (Gerster and Zimmermann, 2003). What ICT primarily has done so far is to give us a means of effective storing/sorting of information and also new fast ways of communication as well as creating new types of interactive learning media.
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Mgaya, K. 1994. Development of information and communication technology in Tanzania. http://www.unu.edu/unupress/unubooks/un19ieOi.htm (accessed 25 January 2010).
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