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In terms of access to technology in Tanzania, there are 9 personal computers (2005) and 110 internet users per 1,000 people (2010). Some observers have pointed out that, with the development of mobile phone technology, Tanzanians are coming to rely less and less on PCs in their use of technology.
Multinational software and hardware companies in the country include IBM and Microsoft. IBM operates directly in Tanzania with offices in the country based in Dar es Salaam. The Kenyan Microsoft offices are responsible for the company’s operations in a number of East African countries including Tanzania.
Among the local ICT solutions providers that distribute the products of the global hardware and software companies are Agumba Computers, Computer Centre and Infosys IPS, all based in Dar es Salaam.
The Ministry of Infrastructure Development launched its national ICT policy in March 2003, recognising the need for urgent action ‘to enable Tanzanians to participate meaningfully in the knowledge economy’. The Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology is another key government body in this area which aims to improve the economic outlook of the country through a developed technology sector.
In 2008, the World Bank approved the Science and Technology Higher Education Project which aims to improve the calibre and quantity of higher education graduates with a particular emphasis on science and technology; several higher education institutions offer technology-based courses around the country. The project’s long-term goals are to develop a knowledge-based economy within the country.
The technology infrastructure is being improved with the installation of fibre-optic broadband cable in the areas surrounding the country’s largest cities which, it is hoped, will be extended to all educational institutions around Tanzania. The developments have been funded by the Chinese government and have received some local interest with companies from both Uganda and Rwanda signed up to access the cables.
According to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report (2012-2013) Tanzania ranks moderately in the extent to which government procurement decisions foster new technology at 73 out of 144 countries worldwide. It scores 3.5 out of 7, just below the world average of 3.6 and equal with neighbouring Kenya.
Tanzania ranks low in terms of availability of latest technologies at 122 out of 144 countries worldwide with a score of 4.1 out of 7, below the world mean of 5. In terms of the extent to which businesses absorb new technologies, Tanzania came 129 out of 144 with a score of 3.9 out of 7, below the world average of 4.8.