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Monday, April 9, 2018

Minister Mbarawa's Speech at the 8th Green Standards Week, April 9-12, 2018 Zanzibar, Tanzania

Hon. Prof. Makame Mnyaa Mbarawa (MP.), Minister for Works, Transport and Communication of the United Republic of Tanzania delivering key note address to the 8th Green Standards Week, 9-12 April, 2018 at Sea Cliff Zanzibar Tanzania.

Honourable Dr. Sira Ubwa Mwamboya, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Communication, Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar;
Dr. Maria Sasabo, Permanent Secretary (Communication), Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication;
Ambassador Ramadhan Mwinyi, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation;
Dr. Chaesub Lee, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU;
Eng. James Kilaba, Director General, Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority;
Eng. Peter Ulanga, Chief Executive Officer, Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF);
Your Excellencies;
Distinguished Delegates,
Member of the press;
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is the utmost honour to the United Republic of Tanzania to welcome all participants as a host country of the 8th Green Standards Week. Allow me on behalf of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to commend the work done by the ITU, UN Habitat, United Nations University (UNU), United Nations Industrial Development Organization​(UNIDO), Basel Convention and UN Environment, Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF), Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) and the organizing committee for preparation of this important meeting; and I once again welcome you all in this beautiful Zanzibar, Tanzania.  Karibuni sana.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Since the Green Standards Week is a global platform for discussion and knowledge-sharing; I would like each participant to use this forum to raise awareness on importance and opportunities for using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to protect the environment, unlock the potential of circular economy and expedite the transition to smart sustainable cities.  As ICT stakeholders, therefore, our main task should be to ensure that ICT support efforts of environmental conservation and that no one is left behind when it comes to effective utilization of ICT for eradication of negative impacts associated with use of ICT including; Carbon emissions, radiation and e-waste. This year’s theme “Linking of Circular economy and industry 4.0” has come at the right time when Tanzania is embracing nationwide policy “Nurturing Industrialization for Economic Transformation and Human Development”.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me to share briefly Tanzania’s efforts and experiences towards the development of ICT and facilitation of Linking Circular Economy and Industry 4.0.   The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania recognizes the important role of ICT for rapid socio-economic growth in its aspiration to become a middle-income economy by 2025 and attain the Government policy on industrialization. To facilitate effective adoption and utilization of ICTs, the Government has been setting pro-ICT policies and supportive legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks.
The National ICT Policy 2016 provides a comprehensive framework for guiding the development and growth of the sector to ensure optimal benefits to the nation and its citizens. This policy addresses a wide range of issues including of e-waste management, environment conservation, ICT safety, ICT Human Capital Development and raising awareness to the public on different matters pertaining to ICTs. Specifically, the Policy states “the Government shall put in place appropriate mechanisms for electronic waste (e-waste) management for safety of people and environment protection”. In addition, National Environment Policy (1997) and associated regulations sets overall framework for environmental management issues in the country that includes e-waste management.
In total, the National policies, legal, regulatory, institutional and converged licensing framework has served as a catalyst for stimulating the ICT development and economic growth.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
To promote growth in ICT, Tanzania adopted a technology neutral license framework.   This resulted in Construction of broadband infrastructures with over 25,000 Km Optic Fiber Cable connects all regions, link to neighbouring countries as well as to the undersea cables of Seacom and Eassy landing on the shores. Tanzanians are already enjoying the benefits, as prices of Internet access and core transmission have dropped significantly. Furthermore, the licencing of nine mobile network operators in the country has proven to be an important tool in bridging the digital gap between rural and urban areas. We are working hard to make sure the few remaining unconnected areas will be connected soon as we need to see all people in the country participate fully in the digital economy.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Accompanying the deployment and utilization of ICTs within the economy and society we have experienced some challenges in the areas of e-Waste, security safety and health related risks from radiation. With a highly competition environment, erection of towers and related equipment are not avoidable.  From the rapid change of technologies, including migration to digital TV transmission, evolvement of mobile phone from analogue in the beginning of 2000 to Internet IP based smart gadgets within a short period has left a number of unused electronic equipment.  
Frequent changes is seen as Providing a safe environment for digital participation is crucial in facilitating effective use of ICT for sustainable development.  Moreover, Frequent change in technology provide little time for field testing before mass marketing and  if not closely monitored may result in health related risk, while wide capabilities of tools may infringe the security and safety if not well managed.   These challenges becomes of high concern for developing countries that depend on imports for most of ICT solutions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Provision of a safe environment for digital participation is crucial in facilitating effective use of ICT for sustainable development.  Efforts that the Government of Tanzania has taken to address these issues include putting in place Electronic and Postal Communications Regulations on Equipment Standards and establishment of Central Equipment Identification Register (CEIR). Furthermore, The quality of service regulations addresses radiation Protection. The Government has banned usage in Tanzania of counterfeit equipment from 2016 to address for security, safety and environment concerns.
Despite these efforts and commitments, there are still challenges such as public understanding of e-waste management and safety related issues; lack of appropriate frameworks that address disposing electronic products after its use; and information treatment; with the industrialization initiative being implemented, we look forward to establish recycling industries and building necessary capacity for e-waste management so as to curb the situation.     

Ladies and Gentlemen
We look forward in this forum to share experience and expertise and through networking and discussions. I urge the forum to contemplate on how we could establish a centralized resource in the region for efficient utilization of resources to a viable project in e-waste management.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
In line with all the above, It is crucial to increase local skilled and competent ICT human resources base in our countries. The skills will lead to; Innovation and Entrepreneurship in ICTs; Research and Development in ICT; Development of industries to manufacture and assemble ICT products; and Proper policies for adoption of new emerging technologies and solutions like Internet of Things (IoT) and Over the Top (OTT).
It is through the ITU that we will continue to get a frameworks and standards.  All that is required is to be ready to collaborate and share experiences with the ITU and each other member in order to make the initiatives a reality.                
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This forum is important for deliberating and knowledge sharing in raising awareness on environmental protection, circular economy and the transition to smart sustainable cities. It is my great expectation that as a team the experiences we share will help in implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as the ITU’s Connect 2020 Agenda for Global Telecommunication /ICT Development and the National and sector specific policies in our countries. I believe, these will be attainable through (i) Human and institutional capacity development; (ii) Fostering innovation and industrialization especially in developing countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Finally, I wish to reiterate Tanzania’s commitment to co-operate with other members and the ITU in enhancing socio-economic development of all member states through ICT.  Once again, on behalf of the Government and people of Tanzania, I would like to express profound gratitude to the ITU for considering the United Republic of Tanzania as a host of this remarkable 8th Green Standards Week, and wish you success in all the deliberations.

Asante sana

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