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See How Tanzania’s Journey Towards Digital Economy Is Gaining Momentum

The 2024/25 fiscal budget reflects a forward-thinking approach, positioning Tanzania as a regional leader in digital transformation and a hub for technological innovation.

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The Ministry of Information, Communications, and Information Technology’s budget presentation highlighted the critical role of the communications sector in Tanzania’s socio-economic development and as an enabler in various industries. 

Speaking in parliament, Mr Nape Nnauye, who heads the docket, said there has been remarkable growth in the country’s communications sector over the past year. For instance, registered SIM cards increased by 16.4 per cent, rising from 62.3 million in April 2023 to 72.5 million in April 2024. 

Mobile internet subscribers also saw an 11.2 per cent surge, from 33.1 million to 36.8 million within the same period. Mobile money service users grew by 19.6 per cent, from 44.3 million to 53.0 million.

Tanzania’s government has implemented several initiatives to drive digital economic transformation, as evidenced by the approval of the National Digital Economy Strategy 2024-2034. 

The revised National ICT Policy 2016 and the development of 14 new guidelines will support the management of the ICT sector, promoting international standards, digital literacy, and inclusivity. 

Profound impacts

These initiatives are set to have a profound impact on the startup ecosystem, especially on driving economic diversification and positioning Tanzania as a hub for tech innovation in the region.

READ MORE: Here Is Why It Is Hard to Invest in Tech Startups In Tanzania

The efforts to reduce communication costs have been fruitful. The average price per minute for in-network calls without bundles decreased from Sh29.0 in June 2023 to Sh26.0 in April 2024. Out-of-network call rates also dropped from Sh31.0 to Sh28.0 in the same timeframe. 

Data costs have similarly declined, with in-bundle data prices falling to an average of Sh2.17 per Megabyte (MB) in April 2024 from Sh2.25 per Megabyte (MB) in June 2023. This reduction in communication costs will likely enhance the viability and sustainability of startups in Tanzania, contributing to the development of a thriving entrepreneurial landscape.

The Ministry’s accomplishments over the past year are noteworthy, including reviewing the National ICT Policy of 2016 and the National Telecommunications Policy of 1997 and preparing a draft of the National ICT Policy 2024 and a draft Tanzania Startup Policy. 

Additionally, 3,008 kilometres of the National Optical Fiber Backbone and 66 new centres were completed, expanding the backbone’s capacity from 200Gbps to 800Gbps, with plans to increase it further to 2000Gbps. Installing 758 communication towers in 731 wards, with 142 completed and operational, enhances connectivity across the country. 

Adopting and implementing the Digital Economy Strategy 2024-2034 and six ICT sector management guidelines underscore the government’s commitment to digital advancement. These initiatives collectively lay a robust foundation for fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and socio-economic development in Tanzania.

Other achievements

The other achievements include completing, approving, and implementing the Digital Economy Strategy 2024-2034 and six ICT sector management guidelines. 

READ MORE: Smartclass Tanzania Joins Google Startups Accelerator Africa Class Seven

Facilitating the reduction of costs for installing communication infrastructure along road reserves, where the initial fee has decreased from US$1,000 to US$200 per kilometre and the annual fee has reduced from US$1,000 to US$100 per kilometre; conducting feasibility studies for the construction of Smart Cities in the cities of Dodoma, Arusha, and Mbeya. 

Through concerted efforts and strategic planning, the Ministry is paving the way for leveraging digital technologies to unlock new opportunities, address socio-economic challenges, and propel Tanzania towards sustainable development and prosperity.

The Ministry’s 2024/25 budget outlines ambitious goals, including plans to finalise the National ICT policy and review the Cybersecurity Act 2015. Moreover, significant infrastructure projects are slated for the coming year, including the construction of 616 new communication towers to reach a total of 758 in 713 wards, and the initiation of 636 new towers to ensure comprehensive coverage. 

The expansion of the National Optical Fiber Backbone to 40 districts and its connection to the Democratic Republic of Congo via Lake Tanganyika is also on the agenda. Moreover, establishing data centres in Dodoma and Zanzibar and a National Communications Security Centre will bolster the country’s digital infrastructure.

The Ministry will oversee the development of an e-commerce platform to facilitate online business transactions. This platform will give startups broader access to markets and customers beyond geographical constraints.

READ MORE: Business Leaders Pledge Innovation, Collaboration in Driving Tanzania’s Digital Future

Additionally, it is imperative to note that the Ministry plans to build artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics laboratories and support the creation of six district ICT innovation hubs, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Training programmes for 30 ICT experts in long-term courses and 450 in short-term programmes will develop the necessary human capital to support these initiatives. This initiative will stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship and position Tanzanian startups for sustainable growth and success in the digital age.

In a nutshell, Tanzania’s journey towards a digital economy is gaining momentum, driven by strategic policies and infrastructure development. The 2024/25 fiscal budget reflects a forward-thinking approach, positioning Tanzania as a regional leader in digital transformation and a hub for technological innovation. 

Tanzania Startup Association (TSA), which supports startups and social enterprises in Tanzania, commends the government’s efforts to provide a supportive environment for startups to thrive and contribute to Tanzania’s digital future.

Elia N. Mwoleka is a policy and research expert at the Tanzania Startup Association (TSA). He can be reached at The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chanzo. If you are interested in publishing in this space, please get in touch with our editors at

Digital Freedom and Innovation Day
The Chanzo is hosting Digital Freedom and Innovation Day on Saturday April 20, 2024 at Makumbusho ya Taifa.

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