Zambia rolling out extensive ICT projects in 2024


Zambia Minister of Science and Technology, Felix Mutati

from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
Zambia Bureau
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – THE upcoming year is to be significant in Zambia’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector.

Among the projects earmarked include the completion of a fibre network link to Mozambique, the establishment of Community Digital Transformation Centres, connecting all schools to the internet as well as the construction of a tier-3 data centre and an innovation hub.

The latter two, described as state-of-the-art, and to be established in the capital, Lusaka.

Speaking on progress made in the sector this year, and ahead of projects slated for 2024, Science and Technology Minister, Felix Mutati, noted collaborative efforts between the government and the private sector had successfully extended fibre connectivity to seven of the eight neighbouring countries.

This is with the exception of Mozambique but he disclosed the ongoing initiative to link Mozambique to the network was underway and completion scheduled before June 2024.

“This strategic move not only underscores Zambia’s position as the digital hub of Southern Africa. It solidifies its standing as the most connected country in Africa through fibre networks,” the minister said.

Mutati said construction of the data centre and innovation hub to be situated in the Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone will commence in 2024.

“This significant development marks a pivotal step towards reinforcing Zambia’s digital infrastructure and fostering innovation in the region,” Mutati said

The copper-rich country borders Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Also in 2024, Zambia will establish Community Digital Transformation Centres, an initiative to be driven by the Smart Zambia Institute.

Smart Zambia Institute, a division under the Office of the President mandated to coordinate and implement e-government, will leverage on the infrastructure of the Zambia Postal Services Corporation to establish these centres.

The centres will serve as hubs where citizens can access internet services for free.

E-government services, such as trading licences, registering cooperatives, road taxes and social cash transfer will be available at the hubs.

The ambition is to have the centres play a role in providing digital literacy and skills programmes.

“We believe empowering citizens with digital skills is as crucial as providing internet access,” Mutati said.

In collaboration with the private sector, Zambia is to connect all 1 291 schools throughout the country to the internet, with a target to link the first 100 schools by the end of this year (2023).

“This transformative initiative goes beyond the installation of mere internet connectivity,” Mutati said.

“It is poised to revolutionise education by enhancing the uptake and delivery of ICT and digital skills among our students,” he added.

– CAJ News

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