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Tanzania Leaves COMESA but Aims to be a Digital Economy Hub, So Do Ghana and Gambia

Tanzania has withdrawn from COMESA, the Eastern African regional economic community. Tanzania was previously a member of COMESA, SADC and the East Africa Community (EAC). Meanwhile, according to the Minister of Information, Communications, and Information Technology, the government is investing heavily in ICT, including the construction of the National Fiber Optic Cable network, known as the National ICT Broadband Backbone. According to media reports, this network will connect Tanzania’s major cities and towns, providing high-speed internet access to businesses and individuals. The National ICT Broadband Backbone is part of the government’s broader strategy to improve internet connectivity across the country, which will play a critical role in making Tanzania an online business hub. In addition to the infrastructure investments, the government has put in place laws, regulations, and procedures for overseeing online businesses.

The government is committed to creating an environment that is conducive for online businesses to thrive. The laws, regulations, and procedures have been designed to protect the rights of online business owners and consumers while also promoting competition and innovation. The Logistics Natives, a German based project leader, is working with both Tanzania and Kenya to introduce e-documentation for the customs posts on the countries’ common border. EFA has signed an agreement with Logistics Natives to work on projects that promote sustainability (an issue that the German government is very keen to support).

The Ministers of Communications and Digital Economy in Gambia and Ghana have been working towards a skill-based economy to close the digital divide in their countries. The Minister in Ghana noted that it is time Africa devised its direction of the future and trained its population on the latest advancements in tech. Despite commanding a market of 1.4 billion people, African countries lack a common agenda for technology, with regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), and the East African Community (EAC) all lacking clear strategies on how members can plug into the global digital economy.

Alastair Tempest

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