Investment in ICT key to economic development-Mukanga

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Government has underscored the importance of investing in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector so as to improve the efficiency and speed of communication in the country.


Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Yamfwya Mukanga said the Patriotic Front (PF) government will therefore work hard to ensure that the ICT sector improves.


Mr. Mukanga said the improvement of the ICTs would help provide reliable, safe and affordable utility services to Zambians thereby promoting development in all parts of the country.


He said services such as communication, electricity and water were important in fostering development hence the need to adequately invest in these areas which were having increasing demand.


He was speaking in Lusaka yesterday at the launch of the Zambia electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Optic Fibre Phase II (Fibrecom Network).


And Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Christopher Yaluma said ZESCO’s Optic Fibre Network would set Zambia for a digital broadband revolution.


Mr. Yaluma said the network, which would soon be connected to five (5) more neighbouring countries among them Congo DR, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, will create a telecommunication hub in the region thereby increasing Zambia’s ICT revenues.


He stated that the network would stimulate a business environment and improve the livelihood of Zambians not only in urban areas but also in rural communities.


Meanwhile, ZESCO Managing Director Cyprian Chitundu has said the second phase, which commenced in 2010 and completed in December last year, was done at a cost of US$60 million (about KR 300 million).


In a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday, Mr. Chitundu said the Fibrecom network was a great achievement for ZESCO and its total investment is expected to be at $93 million (KR 465 million) by the end of 2013.


He disclosed that the network, which currently carried over 60 percent of Zambia’s internet traffic, would provide immerse social, technological and economic benefits for the country.


In October 2012, ZESCO completed the installation of 5,300 kilometres of optic fibre cable on its high voltage lines thus extending high speed ICT services to 46 urban and rural towns countrywide.


Phase two of the optic fibre project with 2,600 kilometres of fibre extends to six provinces namely Central, Eastern, Muchinga, Northern, Luapula and Western and was funded through a loan obtained from the Bank of China.


The Fibrecom network will provide local and international connections for different customers such as fixed and mobile telephone operators, internet service providers, TV, and radio broadcasters and corporate entities and also provide connectivity for government agencies such as the police, the military and other security wings.