- The Zambian government has announced plans to establish Community Digital Transformation Centres to improve its digital ecosystem. This follows the news that each member of Zambia’s parliament will receive a Starlink kit for their home constituency.
- According to the Minister of Technology and Science, Felix Chipota Mutati, the centres will serve as hubs where citizens can get free Internet access.
- Smart Zambia will leverage the infrastructure of the Zambia Postal Services Corporation and other appropriate infrastructure to establish these centres.
With more than 20 million people living there, inadequate infrastructure—especially in rural areas—has resulted in erratic Internet access. DataReportal’s Digital 2023 estimates that the nation has 4.3 million Internet users, or a 21.2% Internet penetration rate.
“These centers will serve as training grounds for digital literacy and skills programs, including digital entrepreneurship and innovation, creating opportunities for jobs and empowerment,” Mutati stated. “They will also provide Internet access.”
Road taxes, cooperative registration, social cash transfers, trading licenses, and cooperative registration are just a few of the electronic government services that the hub will provide.
Mutati pointed out that equipping individuals with digital skills is equivalent to giving them access to the Internet, but emphasized the government’s commitment to inclusivity in this development, seeking to ensure that every citizen benefits from the digital transformation.
The Minister announced on Monday, December 18, 2023, that fiber connectivity has been successfully extended to seven of the eight neighboring countries through tax breaks and concessions. By working in tandem with the commercial sector, this initiative will improve digital infrastructure.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola are these seven nations. Mozambique, however, was left out by the authorities.
As stated by the Minister, efforts are in progress to link Mozambique to the fiber network, with completion slated for June 2024.
Mutati revealed that the Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone’s Tier 3 data center and innovation hub is expected to be built in the upcoming year.
With this breakthrough, Zambia’s digital infrastructure will be strengthened and regional innovation will be encouraged.