With a bold ambition to achieve 80% broadband penetration by 2025, the Tanzanian government, with support from the World Bank, has embarked on a project dubbed Digital Tanzania in partnership with mobile network operators that will see the extension of broadband services to 713 wards, which translates to 1,407 villages, and benefit over 8.5 million Tanzanians across the country upon its completion.

Officiating the signing ceremony at the country’s capital, Dodoma, H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, commended the various ongoing partnerships between public institutions and private organizations (PPPs) in successfully implementing strategic development projects that benefit Tanzanians.

President Suluhu praised the initiative for boosting rural businesses by providing farmers with easy access to information and expanding market opportunities. She highlighted the government's plan to transition from feature phones to smartphones due to improved communication services. The health sector, particularly telemedicine, will also experience significant positive effects. She commended the successful implementation of the m-mama program, a partnership with the Vodacom Tanzania Foundation, which has substantially reduced maternal mortality in Tanzania.

On his part, Vodacom Tanzania Plc’s Managing Director, Philip Besiimire, when asked about the essence of the partnership, linked it with the company’s vision to lead Tanzania to the digital age and change lives through technology, stressing that through innovation and community-driven insights, they have been able to come up with products and services that touch on key socio-economic sectors such as health, education, agriculture and mobile financial services.

Echoing the President’s remarks, Besiimire explained that in a country where three-quarters of the country’s workforce works in the agriculture sector and most of them reside in rural Tanzania, their innovative solutions have accelerated farmers’ registration on their M-Kulima platform, reaching over 3.1 million farmers. They’ve gone further to distribute proceeds worth north of TZS4 billion to the enrolled farmers via M-Pesa in the last year, which provided ease, security and speedy distribution.

Through its partnership with the government through UCSAF, Vodacom has reached Tanzanians who would otherwise remain unconnected. With Vodacom Tanzania allocated 190 wards through the Digital Tanzania partnership, the company will extend its reach to approximately 4.1 million people, which is equivalent to 3.7% of Vodacom's network coverage. By the completion of this project, Vodacom will have reached 525 wards, getting 8,179,367 Tanzanians connected and exposed to the wide array of their products and services, allowing them to participate in the digital economy.

Vodacom Tanzania PLC has been a key stakeholder in the usage of the National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) infrastructure since 2012, with capacity leasing contracts worth over USD 60 million in the past years. This has helped the extension of internet accessibility, where more people can access digital facilities, such as health services, education delivery, and agricultural information, as well as furthering the growth of financial inclusion nationally.

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