On 13th May 2023, Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan witnessed the signing of two contracts worth TZS 275.5bn (USD 122 million) for the construction of 758 communication towers in 713 districts in mainland Tanzania.
The contractors will also upgrade the capacity of 304 towers which now offer 2G internet to 3G, 4G, or more.
The deals signed in Dodoma involved the Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF) and telecom companies operating in Tanzania and are aimed at ensuring the availability of communication services in rural and urban under-served areas.
The telecom companies involved in the initiative include Vodacom, Airtel, TTCL, TIGO, and HALOTEL.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, President Suluhu said that the implementation of the project is an important step towards the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) which is a basic factor towards the digital economy.
“The completion of these projects will greatly help to increase the national income due to the increase in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and communication in other sectors,” she stated.
She added: “The more rural people use networks, the more they get informed on their various activities, solve their problems and increase production. Now we are engaging in agriculture that involves youth in the country and it is youth who use these networks more than others. We promote mobile usage and increase productivity.”
However, the President warned against all sorts of bureaucracy in issuing permits for the implementation of the projects insisting that they shouldn’t go beyond one month.
“I want to see the legal permits for the installation of communication towers in the signed contracts today being issued in a period of not more than one month. On June 13, 2023, I will inquire about a progress report from the minister on whether there are any hurdles in acquiring these documents,” she stressed.
President Suluhu also instructed the Tanzania Rural Energy Agency (REA) to provide electricity to all areas with communication towers, which will prevent telecommunication companies from incurring high expenses on generators.