STATEMENT BY H. E PROF. MARK. J. MWANDOSYA,
MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSPORT AND
HEAD OF DELEGATION OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA
17 NOVEMBER 2005
Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations,
Mr. Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary General of the ITU,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour for me to address this August
Assembly on behalf of the United Republic of Tanzania. Allow me to convey
the felicitations of His Excellency Benjamin William Mkapa, President of the
United Republic of Tanzania who could not be with us here today. He has
mandated me to express his and Tanzania's full support to the Development
Process of the World Summit on the Information Society.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Kofi
Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and Mr. Yoshio Utsumi,
the Secretary General of ITU for the successful implementation of the United
Nations General Assembly Resolution of holding and expediting in phases,
this historical event, the World Summit on Information Society, of which we
all have a stake in.
The first Phase of WSIS, held in Geneva in December 2003
approved WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action for
implementation by all stakeholders. The Plan of Action recognises the need
for enhancing the process of building up a well-informed society in order to
foster global, regional and national development through optimal use of
Information and Communications Technologies – ICTs as a facilitator.
The World Summit on the Information Society has been
arranged by the United Nations System. It is indeed a success story of
multilateralism. For that success to be recognised and sustained, we see a
strong rationale for the United Nations System to have a central and pivotal
role in the follow up to the post summit in coordinating the implementation
of the declarations, plans and commitments arising from the Summit. Public
policy issues arising out of the growth of the information revolution are
the domain of and fall within the purview of governments. The
multi-stakeholder nature of the enterprise, is such that the non
governmental sector can play a useful role in this endeavour. A Public
Private Sector Partnership that will inevitably arise out of the Summit
could be a pace setter in many global and national endeavours.
In the course of implementation there have been some
notable achievements as well as challenges, with most of the latter being
experienced in developing countries, including Tanzania. These include
inadequate infrastructure, high cost to access ICT facilities and lack of
relevant local content. In this regard, the issue of Internet Governance,
relevant content, information flow, and connectivity between and within
African countries and the rest of the World are important. It needs a
collective and multilateral effort to address issues of internet security
and combating cyber crime, terrorism, and many others.
The Digital Solidarity Fund is an African initiative,
brainchild of His Excellency Abdoulaye Wade. We applaud its establishment,
the voluntary nature of it not withstanding. We confirm that Tanzania shall
contribute and we urge those who can contribute generously to the fund which
would go a long way to change the "digital divide" into a digital
solidarity. For, there is a clear benefit to and it is in the self interest
of developed nations and institutions to have information and knowledge
underpin the development of developing countries.
Tanzania has initiated and continues to implement various
programmes as part of the process of building an Information Society. These
programmes are in the areas of local content development, e-health,
e-agriculture, e-post, e-business, e-commerce, e-government and e-education
linking secondary schools, universities and teachers training colleges. We
have an Integrated Financial Management and Accounting and a Centralized
Human Resource/Payroll Management systems that links all Ministries and
Local Governments to the Ministry of Finance.
Tanzania is also spearheading the localisation of the key
open source applications and operating Systems into Kiswahili. This has
resulted in what are referred to as the Jambo Open Office, and Klinux for
word processing, and websurfing, respectively. These efforts should lead to
inclusive access and enhancement of the cultural and linguistic diversity of
the information society.
We are finalizing the establishment of institutional
arrangements for the management of our country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD)
to be launched by January 2006. On the other hand Tanzania has established
an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) and is planning to install four more IXPs.
We are committed to the realisation of the East African
Submarine Cable Project (EASSy), which will create connectivity
possibilities to countries in Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa.
Tanzania has embarked on the establishment of a National ICT optic fiber
backbone network starting with the rationalisation and full utilization of
the excess transmission capacities of our transport, electricity, and
natural gas companies.
A new technology-neutral, service-neutral and convergence
framework for the licensing of operators has been introduced by the
regulator. In realisation of these programmes, we welcome investment and
encourage a strong multi-stakeholder partnership among the Government,
Private Sector, Development Partners, the Civil Society, and the People.
Tunisia is an African country. The symbolism of Africa
hosting the Summit should not be missed. For, it is in assessing the
performance of Africa that the World will know whether its global
information revolution has succeeded or not. Tunisia has provided a
magnificent setting for the second phase of the World Summit on the
Information Society. I would like to thank His Excellency Ben Ali Zine El
Abidine the President of Tunisia, the government and the people of Tunisia
for their generosity and efficient arrangements.
Once again, the United Republic of Tanzania commits
itself to implement the decisions of this Summit.
I thank you for your attention.