Hon. Hamad Masoud Hamad, Minister of Infrastructure and Communications, Zanzibar.
I am informed that this year’s ARB meeting delegates are drawn from Academia, Think Tank Leaders, Business Leaders, Politicians and NGOs from across sub- Sahara Africa and that the main theme is Digital Revolution: Opportunity or Threat to Africa? A list of Resource Persons and the topics to be presented and discussed in this forum clearly show the determination and seriousness of ARB’s efforts in supporting and improving living standards of poor Africans.
The objectives of the Ninth Africa Resource Bank Meeting on Digital Revolution focus on identifying and discussing the opportunities and threats of the on-going digital revolution, critically examining its impact, the way in which Digital Revolution can enhance people participation in issues, establish and list down the Role of Digital tools in improving productivity on economics, trade, health, agriculture, education, environment and culture in Africa Region.
I would like to emphasize the involvement and strength of IREN in Training, Research, advisory and consultancy projects in Africa to ensure highest quality deliverables. In its vigorous decisions, it is my hope this forum will deliberate on a number of issues including:
- Robust and quality programmes for capacity development, knowledge sharing and information services in Africa countries and elsewhere.
- Helping bridge the Digital and knowledge divide in key sectors of food and agriculture (e-nutrition) e-commerce, e-government, telemedicine and distance learning.
- Africa poverty reduction and achievement of Millennium Development Goals for ICT.
It’s well known that June 2015 is the deadline for Analog. Here in Tanzania, the official launch for Tanzania to go digital was made by H.E, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania on 24th August 2011 in Dar es Salaam during the sixth Annual International Conference on Connecting Rural Communities Africa Forum organized by Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO), Ministry of Telecommunications, Science and Technology of the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) and the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA).
People in Pemba are busy digging trenches to lay optic fibre cable connecting all districts to the ICT- National Backbone. A similar project will be done in Unguja next year after laying the submarine electric cable (incorporating optic fibre) from Dar es Salaam to Fumba in Zanzibar.
This project is in line with the Zanzibar Government Policies in Telecommunication Technological development. We trust that this development will connect Zanzibar (Unguja and Pemba), to the rest of the world, highly improve data speed, reduce to huge extent the current costs in communications, but most importantly improve the internet connectivity on the continent and the World at large.
The Africa Resource Bank (ADB), one of IREN’s forums that has been in existence since 2003 has done a commendable job for all those years.
The Ninth Africa Resource Bank Meeting on Digital Revolution is very useful and fruitful in terms of not only creating a platform to help share experiences and strategies on how to move forward, spark discussion on whether Digital Revolution is an opportunity or Threat to Africa; but also making friends and exchanging valuable contacts.
Excerpted from the keynote statement by Hon. Hamad Masoud Hamad, Minister of Infrastructure and Communications, Zanzibar, during the 9th Africa Resource Bank meeting.