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), 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 funded as a World Bank IDA loan of $100 million 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 was initially a seven-year program, which was approved in 2008 and divided into two phases of activities. APL1 activities were to be implemented within the first two years and APL2 activities were to 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) were identified as being under the 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.

In June 2014, the Program was extended for a further 18 month period with an additional loan of $15 million to finish existing activities ($6.37 million) and commence new activities to pilot reforms introduced by STHEP-1 related to secondary school science teachers and support the tertiary education system to be more responsive to the labour market demand.

Funding agency: World Bank, IDA credit, $100 million + further $15 million

Tanzania National Research and Education Network (NREN)

Within STHEP, a major objective of component 2B is to set up TERNET in 2008 as the 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 to 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) built the National ICT Optic Fibre Cable (OFC) infrastructure Backbone (NICTBB). The NICTBB connects 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 were 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 intended 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.

The piloting for E-libraries and EMIS was 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 were selected as pilots for the EMIS system; five out of the eight institutions were pilots for the E-library system. The pilot institutions were 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

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 2015 eighteen institutions were to be connected to the STM1 capacity providing a minimum of 8Mbps per institution.

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.


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 in October 2011 on the ground floor of COSTECH, which is now called Buni Hub. The Innovation Space provides co-working space with WiFi Internet access for up to 40 people, a meeting space for up to 60 people, regular training and networking events.

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 Salaam 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.

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

TANZICT and COSTECH launched an ICT Innovation Fund in 2012 to provide seed funding to develop a prototype or pilot a service, which is managed by COSTECH and funded by TANZICT The grant ($7,000 - $10,000) 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, Buni Hub, university incubator or KINU Innovation Hub that can provide mentoring and monitor their progress. The first Call for Applications closed in November 2012, received 25 applications with the first cohort of six grantees announced in April 2013 with funding of €50,000 in total. The second call received 44 applications with ten grantees announced in October 2014 and funding of €70,000 in total. The third Call closed in September 2014 and seven projects were funded. The four Call closed in May 2015 and received 137 proposals of which 18 innovators were awarded grants with a total funding of €155,000.

The TANZICT project was extended to July 2016. A follow on project is being prepared to commence during 2016 for 5 years.

Funding : Government of Finland, 5 million euro (Sept 2011 - August 2015, extended to July 2016)

Dar Teknohama Business ICT Incubator (DTBI)

The Dar Teknohama Business Incubator (DTBi) was set up in June 2011 under the Public Private Partnership between InfoDev and COSTECH with grant funding for the first two years to sub-vent set up costs and training. It is 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. DTBi was the implementing partner for the InfoDev East Africa Virtual Incubation pilot launched in January 2013.

In June 2014, Tigo Tanzania signed a partnership with DTBi and COSTECH which aims to support 10 scholarships per year for Masters students, an internship programme and employment opportunities.

Over the past four years, DTBi has mentored a mix of 35 technology entrepreneurs and start up companies. DTBi has also helped incubatees receive more than $80,000 in funding during 2014/2015 and assisted in securing loan guarantees to enable them to secure operating capital to scale their business. Incubatees have created more than 4,750 jobs.

Funding: InfoDev and COSTECH


KINU was established in January 2012 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 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 started 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 supports 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. The areas for the park has been confirmed in Bagamoyo and 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 during 2016. 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