Current ICT Initiatives and projects - Republic of Tanzania

ICT Initiatives are currently ongoing at national level in the areas of eInfrastructure and Education (Science, Technology and Higher Education Program, Tanzania National Research and Education Network, eLibraries, Education Management Information System, National ICT Backbone), eHealth, Information Society & Entrepreneurship (TANZICT project, Dar TEknohama Business ICT Incubator. KINU) and the Tanzania ICT Technology Park.

Science Technology and Higher Education Program (STHEP)

Science Technology and Higher Education Program (STHEP) is a World Bank funded project to the Government of Tanzania, implemented through the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT) program with support from the Ministry of Communication Science and Technology (MCST). This is a seven-year program that is broken down into two phases of activities. APL1 activities has to be implemented within the first two years and APL2 activities will be accomplished within the last five years of the program. The long-term purpose of STHEP is to improve development of human capital in area of Science and Technology (S&T) and create a knowledge-based economy within the next ten years. 128 Higher Education and Research Institutions (HERIs) are under STHEP program.

STHEP has four program components: Component 1A - Investments in Priority Discipline for Economic Growth; Component 1B - Expanded capacity for Teachers preparation and for graduate's studies in education; Component 2A - Strengthening Key Higher Education Agencies and Institutions; Component 2B - Investments in ICT based Higher Education Systems. STHEP Component 2B is focusing on four (4) major areas being; National Research and Education Network (NREN), Education Management Information system (EMIS), E-Library, and E-Learning. Shared mechanisms to support the implementation of Component 2B of STHEP have being established between all 128 HERIs under this program.

The final findings of the feasibility study for the development of E-libraries and EMIS was presented on 18th December 2012. The piloting of the e-learning system commenced in February 2013 with five Universities. The piloting for E-libraries and EMIS will be undertaken with eight institutions from February 2013.

Funding agency: World Bank

Tanzania National Research and Education Network (NREN)

Within STHEP, a major objective of component 2B is to provide a National Research and Education Network (NREN) to: better manage the increasing numbers of students as the education sector expands; improve the quality of data used in decision making and resource management; enhance knowledge sharing; improve transparency; improve classroom student-teacher participation; and improve research capability. It is envisaged that over time the NREN will enable HEIs (Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Research Institutions to link to the Internet and to exchange information between institutions. It is also aimed that it will facilitate advanced teaching at Universities, research and Community services. It should help to alleviate the cost and isolation challenges currently faced by institutions and individuals in rural areas as well as linking the Tanzanian HEIs and research institutions to the international research and education networks.

ICT Infrastructure

The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania through the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology (MCST is currently building the National ICT Optic Fiber Cable (OFC) infrastructure Backbone (NICTBB). The NICTBB will connect all district and regional headquarters in the country. The project officially started in February 2009, and is now 90% complete.

Last Mile Connectivity

128 Higher Education and Research Institutions have been identified to be connected through the NREN. Because of the limited funds available for phase 1 of the STHEP implementation, recommendations were made to connect only 28 higher education and research institutions in phase 1 and the remaining institutions to be connected in phase 2. By December 2014 18 Institutions will be connected with a minimum of 8Mbps connectivity.

ICT Applications

Building on the NICTBB and NREN, STHEP intends to implement both an Education Management Information System (EMIS) and an e-Library system to support education and research activities. The e-Library system includes both library management system (LMS) functionality, as well as digital library functionality, i.e. making digital content available for direct access by end users through digital technologies. The EMIS and e-Library systems may each consist of more than one software application. During the first two years of APL1, STHEP through COSTECH will focus on building up the required expertise in collaboration with the Higher Education and Research Institution (HERI) stakeholders. This collaboration will form the basis of, and be facilitated by new organizational bodies that will allow for formalized cooperation and shared decision-making (referred to below as "shared mechanisms"), which will later provide the ongoing support and maintenance essential for APL 2 to start.

A shared mechanism is a mechanism to bring together a wide range of stakeholders who have not previously collaborated in this way. The shared mechanisms will be governed by a Steering Committee and Stakeholders Forum.

The piloting for E-libraries and EMIS will be undertaken with eight institutions from February 2013. Individual consultants were hired by COSTECH to deploy EMIS and E-library systems. Eight institutions, including national agencies have been selected as pilots for the EMIS system; five out of the eight institutions will be pilots for the E-library system. The pilots institutions are Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Mzumbe University (Morogoro Campus), State University of Zanzibar (SUZA), Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU), Higher Education Student Loan Board (HESLB) and National Council for Technical Education (NACTE).

Connectivity Arrangement

Under the auspicious of the AU, AAU and UbuntuNet, submarine cable service providers alliance negotiated a model for accessing educational and research networks for an individual university or higher learning institutions through the access to the national NREN (hosted by COSTECH), which will be connected to the regional NREN which in turn will be connected via submarine cable to regional NREN (Europe in this case) and then connected beyond that to other networks. The Large developed NRENs of Europe and North America do this to ensure that the traffic is for education and research to justify the price discount offered for IP traffic. At the same time the submarine cable providers SEACOM, EASSy and TEAMs are also offering a discounted education and research bandwidth price, knowing that this circuit has been terminated at a NREN network for education purposes through SEACOM connectivity at the capacity of STM-1. Initially the Open University of Tanzania (OUT), Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT), College of Business Education (CBE), Ardhi University (ARU), Herbart Kairuki Memorial University of Medicine, Institute of Transport, Mikocheni Agriculture Research Institute (MARI), Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organization (TIRDO) were connected to the COSTECH NOC and directly linked with European GEANT2 through the Ubuntu Alliance. By December 2014 eighteen institutions will be connected to the STM1 capacity providing a minimum of 8Mbps per institution.

In Tanzania, TERNET is a technical NGO supporting COSTECH in the implementation of the NREN and is a member of the Ubuntunet Alliance of which other members are Ebale (DRC), Ethernet (Ethiopia), KENET (Kenya), MAREN (Malawi), Morenet (Mozambique), Rwednet (Rwanda), SomaliREN (Somalia), SUIN (Sudan), TENET (South Africa), RENU (Uganda) and ZAMREN (Zambia). TERNET is committed to the AfricaConnect project for interconnecting these African NRENs' through cross border fibre to allow peering and exchange of research and education traffic regionally.

Funding agency: World Bank

eHealth Strategy

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) is overseeing the development of an ICT strategy for guiding ICT applications in the sector. As part of ongoing health sector reforms, the Health Sector Strategic Plan III (HSSP III) has been developed to guide priority setting and deployment of resources in the health sector. While it is recognised that ICT has the potential to transform healthcare delivery, the national health sector has seen a fragmented landscape of ICT pilot projects and numerous data and Health Information System silos with inherent barriers to information sharing. The strategy aims to put better coordination in place to reduce duplication of effort, creation of new applications that are not interoperable and ineffective expenditure. It has been developed through a participatory process with stakeholders (workshops, survey, discuss groups, interviews) and a review of the World Health Organization (WHO) eHealth strategy development toolkit vision.

It is planned that by 2018, eHealth will provide a sustainable and efficient health system for citizens that guarantees patient information rights, integrity and confidentiality. Strategic areas of implementation identified include: eHealth Foundations, eHealth Solutions, Change Management and Governance structures to ensure good coordination and oversight of the national eHealth program.

Funding : from the Government of Tanzania, with the process facilitated by the International Institute for Communication and Development of The Netherlands.

Geographic scope : National covering all health facilities and agencies.

Afya Mtandao - Networking / Connecting Health facilities for sharing knowledge and data of Heath Facilities

Initially this network was established by the Christian Social Services Commission with funding provided by International Institute for Communication and Development IICD of the Netherlands.

The network is now in the process of expending to include faith based hospitals owned by Muslim Council (BAKWATA) and Private Hospitals.

National ICT Backbone - covering all regions and district headquarters

The National ICT infrastructure involves construction of National ICT Backbone (NICTBB) using Optic fibre cable. The project will cover all regions and district headquarters in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar and also provide cross border connectivity to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burudi, DRC, Zambia and Malawi. This project is now over 90% complete.


TANZICT is an Information Society and ICT Sector development bi-lateral project between the Government of Tanzania and the Government of Finland, which is hosted by COSTECH and commenced in August 2011. It is focused on strengthening the Tanzania Information Society through a revision of the national ICT Policy and associated Implementation, strengthening the institutional capacity of MCST and creating a Tanzania Innovation programme. It has created a community spirit through support for pre-Incubation, training for women entrepreneurs, community events and hands-on support.

TANZICT set up an open Innovation Space and pre-Incubation space on the ground floor of COSTECH, which was officially opened on 31 October 2011. As at December 2013, there were 1,400 individuals registered to use the Innovation Space, which provides co-working space with Wi-Fi Internet access for up to 40 people and a meeting space for up to 60 people. There are quite a lot of participants from the College of ICT working in the Innovation Space, which is very actively used on a daily basis from 8am - 10pm and 9am - 6pm on weekends.

TANZICT co-operated with IIMC in relation to the second IST-Africa Living Lab Workshop in Dar es Salaam in May 2012. TANZICT is providing hands on support to emerging Living Labs in Iringa, Kigamboni, Mwanza, Mbeya, Zanzibar and Arusha.

TANZICT launched the FEMTANZ 3 month Programme in December 2012 to provide business support training to women who wish to establish the grow their own technology-enabled businesses. Participants came together in Dar es Salam for three 2.5 day workshops during December 2012, January 2013 and February 2013. The initial training was provided by Tina James and Jill Sawers of FEMTECH. Fifteen people were involved in the first course, which was provided free of charge in English and three people were trained as trainers. In the future it may be necessary to translate the materials into Swahili.

TANZICT and COSTECH launched an ICT Innovation Fund to provide seed funding to develop a prototype or pilot a service, with the first Calls for applications closing in November 2012. A good response was received to this competitive Call with 25 applications submitted of which twelve were interviewed and six selected for funding with grants between 7,000 - 10,000 USD. The selection committee comprised of COSTECH and TANZICT staff and private sector representation. The grant is focused on funding development of a prototype, technical work and technical skills but is not aimed at supporting the running costs of a start-up. It is a requirement that the recipient is hosted at an existing Incubator or Hub such as DTBI, TANZICT pre-incubatees, university incubator or KINU Innovation Hub that can provide mentoring and monitor their progress. The first cohort of six grantees was announced in April 2013 with funding of fifty thousand euro in total.

TANZICT and DTBi launch joint Call for Pre-Incubation and Incubation.

Funding : Government of Finland, 5 million euro (Sept 2011 - August 2015)

Dar Teknohama Business ICT Incubator (DTBI)

The Dar Teknohama Business Incubator (DTBi) was set up in June 2011 under the Public Private Parternship between InfoDev and COSTECH with grant funding for the first two years to sub-vent set up costs and training. It is currently hosted by COSTECH as an Incubator to support local technology-driven companies as well as young entrepreneurs with high growth potential.

DTBi supports Pre-Incubation in co-operation with TANZICT, where the criteria are to have a disruptive business idea that is implement able or existing prototype, potential for scalability and ability to create greater social and economic impact. Pre-Incubatees are provided with desk space and Internet access for three months while they develop their ideas. They make a contribution of 50 USD per month towards operational costs or provide in kind services (management of network, website etc). It is expected that a prototype will be developed, company registration in place and to have started a marketing and business plan within this three month window.

DTBi also provides Incubation for companies - residential or virtual. There are specific criteria to quality and residential incubates pay a subsidised rent per month. DTBi works on a Royalties model. DTBi provides loan guarantees for incubated companies with signed private sector or public sector contracts who need working capital.

DBTi is the implementing partner for the InfoDev East Africa Virtual Incubation pilot launched in January 2013.

Funding: Infodev and COSTECH


KINU was established in January 2012 by six Tanzanian entrepreneurs as a social enterprise to provide an open space for Tanzania's tech community to foster co-creation, innovation and capacity building. Initial funding towards operational costs was secured from Indigo Trust and Google Africa. Other partners include SMILE and RAHA. In September 2012 SEACOM donated 30mb of Internet connectivity for one year to support KINU. Samsung has provided equipment for a test lab.

KINU was formally launched as an Innovation Hub on 14 September 2012 with participation from H.E. Hon January Makamba, Deputy Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, entrepreneurs, industry, academia and media.

KINU provides co-working space, dedicated working space, facilities for application testing, workshops and training courses to support the tech community (start-ups, freelancers, SMEs and established companies). Regular training courses include CSS/Java, Cyber Security and Search engine optimisation. Past events organised included information sessions on upcoming competitions (Google Apps Developer Challenge, African News Innovation Challenge, Vodacom AppsStar), funding opportunities (Savannah Fund), Mobile Monday meetings, Workshops on Open source software, Policy discussions on the ICT Policy and IP Laws, Google MapUp Events for Google Student Ambassadors and supporting participation in the Sanitation Hackathon.

To assist in developing skills, KINU has starting a Code Ninja Programme, which takes place on a Saturday every two months to test competencies in different programme languages as part of programming competitions that are judged by an automated judging system.

KINU also wishes to support a more active role for women and children in technology. KINU is co-organising a Girls Nights Out session for 2.5 hours once a month with TANZICT to support female entrepreneurs to leverage ICT in their businesses. An agreement has been reached with ISOC to provide training for women and to support 2 - 3 Tanzanian women to become ISOC certified trainers. A six-week Robotics Programme has been run for children (6 - 12 year olds) of members of the KINU community during 2013 and future coding programs for children are planned.

Tanzania ICT Technology Park

Over the next 5 years, the ICT Technology Park, a Public and Private Partnership between the Government of Tanzania and SEACOM, will become a focal point for innovation, and include an Incubator providing co-working space, seed funding, training and mentorship for ICT entrepreneurs. Good progress has been made in identifying locations. Following consultation with potential anchor tenants, basic infrastructure and facilities will be put in place. The ICT Park will be classified as a Special Export Zone, thus attracting low tax and tariffs, with SEACOM providing bandwidth. The data centre will be managed by NIDA as a 2 Tier data centre suitable for government, private sector and multinationals. The Park will help provide jobs by housing multinational enterprises and startup incubators which will encourage them to interact.

Preparation of a master plan for the Park is expected to be completed in early 2014. Quality infrastructure and high internet connectivity will be made available within the ICT park. The national backbone is directly connected to India and neighbouring countries. The park also aims to house a University for research and development in the long run.

Funding : SEACOM and COSTECH