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Tanzania’s tech ecosystem attracts large funds, investors, study shows

The African Business Magazine published on September 23 this year has published an article entitled ‘Tanzania’s tech ecosystem has shown positive growth over the past few years, but is falling to attract large funds and investors, startup leaders say’.

The single sourced, bias and unbalanced article that has been written by Tom Collins depicts Tanzania as the only country in Africa compared to South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya that receives what he calls far less attention from venture capitalists and Africa- focused funds.

It is not clear why The African Business Magazine, which is highly respected with competent editors and journalists, decided to publish the single sided critising article without focusing on how Tanzania has continued investing on technologies and innovations that are important catalists for attaracting large funds and investors.

It is in record that the government of Tanzania recognises the importance of ICT and Innovation to support socioeconomic development.

Two of the three main policies supporting Innovation and Entrepreneurship have been reviewed in the past five years: updated Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy to incorporate Entrepreneurship and the national ICT Policy of 2003 as part of the development of a new implementation strategy - updated ICT Policy was approved in 2016.

In relation to communications, according to Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) published statistics as per December 2019, there are more than 48million mobile subsribers. This record is an increase from the previous number of about 43 million people in December 2018.

Tanzania’s number of subscriber mobile is updated yearly, averaging 6,269 people from December 1960 to 201, with 48 obersevations. By June 2020, investments in innovations and ICT increased mobile money subscriptions (mobile money accounts) in Tanzania.

Tanzania’s mobile money penetration reached 53 per cent with 29.7 million mobile money subscriptions in 2020, compared to 1 million in 2018, with an increase of 41 per cent. In June 2020, 272,339,270 mobile money transactions took place, for a total value of $4.6 billion.

There are six mobile operators offering mobile money services in Tanzania: Vodacom with M-Pesa (39 per cent), Tigo with Tigo Pesa (30 per cent), Airtel with Airtel Money (20 per cent), Halotel with Halopesa (7 per cent), TTCL (3 per cent) and Zantel with Ezy Pesa (1 per cent).

In connection to this, Tanzania has innovated the use of e-government (eGA) which uses information, communication and technology (ICT) in delivering services in effective and efficiency manner. The e-government has improved the delivery of quality services to the public through the best use of technology.

It inolves use of ICT to support service delievery to the public, businesses and citizens (G2C and G2B) that are key beneficiries. In ensuring that innovation in technologies continues to take space, Tanzania introduced government e-payment gateway (GePG) system through which customers can pay for public services via cards, internet banking and mobile money.

This system has attaracted many transactions and is currently employed by both public and private companies. More than 11 financial institutions and six mobile companies have intergrated into this system. The government has also established innovation and reseach organisations in order to support and enhance research, technology and innovations in the country.

One if these institutions are the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) which is a government parastatal organisation under the Ministry responsible for Science and Technology. It is entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating and promoting science and technology development activities in the country.

Since 1988, Costech has been the principal advisory organ to the government on all matters relating to scientific research, innovation, technology development and transfer, and recommends its implementation.

Another sciencific organisation is the Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organisation (Tirdo), which is a multi-disciplinary research, and development organisation established by an Act of Parliament No 5 of 1979 and it became operational on April 1, 1979.

Its mandate is to assist the industrial sector of Tanzania by providing technical expertise and support services to upgrade their technology base. As well, carrying out applied research, for the development of suitable technologies, and value addition to indigenous resources through industrial processing.

Costech and Tirdo continues to be corner stones in promoting research,innovations and Technological inventions in the Tanzania, a country which recently was categorised as the middle income economy by the World Bank.

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Mwandishi: SUNDAY NEWS Correspondent

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