Zambia ICT Sector Inches Toward Improvement, Child Cyber Protection

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Written by Makula Dunbar

Margaret Mudenda, The Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) director, recently announced that the country is making steady improvement within the ICT sector. Admitting in a Biz Tech Africa report that there’s a long road ahead, advancements in mobile and internet technology are in process — especially advancement involving child e-learning and security.

“Everywhere you go it is most likely that you will see use of those ICTs,” Mudenda said in the report. “It is undeniable that the ills and cyber threats that accompany an Information and Digital Society are around us now.”

According to Biz Tech Africa, ZICTA — Zambia’s ICT regulator — and UNICEF will be working together to create a plan which combats cyber security threats. Online protection of software and programs designated for children will be prioritized. With the input of private partners, the Ministry of Education Science, Vocational Training and Early Education — ICT policies (also regarding child protection) will be updated and implemented.

In an interview with Voices of Zambia, Mudenda stressed the importance of partnering with local ICT companies.

“We have a problem with the IT sector. We cannot compete with the companies that are coming from China and this is why we need to promote truly Zambian companies,” she said. “We need to partner with these local companies to make sure that their products are not being overshadowed by the foreign company’s products. This will ensure that we can develop a profit in the country.”

Aside from helping other sectors integrate IT into business practices, Mudenda explained that phones are being set up in rural areas for people without mobile access. ZICTA also has a hand in investment protection, ensuring that ICT projects backed by foreign investment are carried out with integrity.

“We issues licenses, we ensure that investor’s investments are protected, and we regulate competition to make sure that business is not abused and to an extent, that one does not outshine the other,” Mudenda told Voices of Zambia.

“We have an arrangement with Zambia Development Agency, so that when investors come market themselves in the country, we travel with them. We are able to ensure that they have the communication, technology, and access to information. We are able to ensure that they do have Internet provided, so that when they are in Zambia, they are able to communicate back home because that is important.”

ZICTA is also currently working toward a collaborative ICT improvement initiative which loops in government, NGOs and private sector partners, Biz Tech Africa reported.