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anna kuthan
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« on: April 11 2007 »

New National ICT Policy for Zambia
By: Brenda Zulu

Article summary:
Zambia's new National Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy must contribute to Zambia's national development initiatives - writes Brenda Zulu.

The Government of Zambia has called for the mainstreaming of Internet Governance in the implementation plan of the National Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy and immediate formation of the National Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) to enable Zambia's full participation in internet governance issues.

The call was made on March 28, 2007 at a Grand Launch of the National ICT Policy which sets the framework for Zambia's participation in the global economy and global village.

The government has since reminded all stakeholders of the need to develop an ICT infrastructure in rural and under-served areas to provide access to as many people as possible and directed the Ministry of Communication to see to it that the above aspect was embraced in all activities related to the ICT policy implementation.

Vice President Rupiah Banda delivered President Levy Mwanawasa SC?s speech where he said that the National ICT Policy was developed to accelerate the social and economic development of Zambia.

Mwanawasa indicated that the government intends to bridge the digital divide amongst Zambians, and outlined activities that the National ICT Policy must address to contribute to national development. According to Mwanawasa, the creation of an innovative, market responsive, highly competitive, coordinated and well regulated ICT industry was a necessity if Zambia was to be globally competitive.

Mwanawasa also observed that although the country has made some significant strides in the development of the ICT sector, there are some specific challenges that require the country?s urgent attention.

He explained that the current regulatory framework in the ICT sector was fragmented in that there are at present three bodies regulating the sector. The communications Authority regulates the Telecommunications sector, the Ministry of Communications and Transport regulates the postal and courier services and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting regulates Broadcasting.

Mwanawasa observed that there was a need to harmonise the regulatory framework to eliminate duplication and called on the Ministries of Communication and Transport and Information Broadcasting services to harmonise the regulatory framework in the sector.

Government also feels that the need for a quick implementation of e-governance which Mr Banda said was being piloted in a number of institutions emphasising that it should spread to all Government institutions.

Government directed the Ministry of Communications and Transport to expedite the adopting of e-governance in all Ministries and Government institutions. Government also indicated that the need to fast track the enactment of the ICT Act and other pieces of legislation to provide an enabling environment for the implementation of the policy.

There is also a need for the facilitation of Joint venture initiatives for local entrepreneurs with international private inventors in the provision of public ICT goods and services.

Furthermore, the creation of a favourable business environment to promote Zambia as an attractive destination for ICT related investments within the region and on the international market targeting manufacturing and local products assembly, research and development, human resource development components and restructuring of the ICT market with a view to making the ICT sector a significant contributor to the social and economic development of the country, was necessary.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Communications and Transport Mr Peter Daka has called on the Communciation's Authority of Zambia (CAZ) to use its mandate to deal with misuse of ICT and also develop a system where it will be able to regulate misuse of ICTs.

Daka also emphasised the need for companies to be regulated by CAZ and that they must have competition behind the curtains and not in public.

He added that ICTs should be affordable to rural areas noting that previously people in villages used to use mail messengers to carry the messages but this time the sending of messages has been quickened by the use of ICTs such as the mobile phone sms facility, etc.

source: http://hana.ru.ac.za/article.cfm?articleID=1344
"Story provided free by the Highway Africa News Agency"
« Last Edit: April 16 2007 by anna kuthan » Logged
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