According to a recent report by the Citizen, the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has increased dramatically across the African continent, influenced, in part by various projects that are currently being executed by the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA).
This report indicated that, as of December 2008, ICTs across the continent had witnessed a growth of 1,100 percent in internet.
During a recent conference on internet security and infrastructure in Africa, the Tanzania deputy minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Dr. Maua Daftari, revealed that, in spite of its progress, as a whole the African continent was still not at the same level as the rest of the world because the 50 million internet users on a continent of 970 million people represented only a fraction of the global whole.
Dr. Daftari went on to say that, according to figures by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the penetration of internet usage in Europe, for example, is eight times higher in Europe than in Africa, where the penetration currently stands at only 5 percent.
In addition to this, only a few countries in Africa have a broadband of more than one percent, while the broadband penetration in Europe is more than 18 percent.
Speaking recently to IT experts from over 20 African countries recently, Dr. Daftari said that these statistics indicate that there is still work to be done in order to bring the continent up to global standards.
“We have a long way to go in terms of developing, managing and securing our infrastructures,” said Dr. Daftari at the conference, which was held at an Arusha hotel.
According to Dr. Daftari, in order to achieve reliable, efficient and cost-effective connectivity within the African countries, the continent must work hard to develop, improve and secure the overall infrastructure of its internet.
Dr. Daftari went on to mention the current marine cable SEACOM project as an example of, what she calls, a revolutionary solution that will help move Tanzania in the direction of affordable internet connectivity in addition to helping it supplement its initiatives of building a strong national backbone.
Currently, the conference-cum-technical training on internet resource management is organized by the African Top Level Domain (AfTLD), which is an ICT association for Internet development.
According to Dr. Daftari, the AfTLD shares its objectives with the 2003 National Information and Communications Technologies Policy (NICTP), which identified two critical factors as infrastructure and human capital.
In addition to this, Dr. Daftari went on mention several projects that the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) as being connected to the ICT in terms of development.
Some of the projects that the TCRA is currently working on include the creation of support in order to sustain a National Registry as well as the creation of internet exchange points.
In addition to these projects, the Government of Tanzania is also working to set up a National ICT Infrastructure and work to connect the sub-marine cables (SEACOM, EASSy and TEAMS) in order to make overall internet access more affordable.