National ICT Policy proposal

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                  National ICT Policy proposal

                  1. INTRODUCTION

                  Ethiopia is in the process of economic transformation through Agriculture Development
                  Led Industrial Strategy. The macro-economic structural adjustment program was
                  designed to create a market driven economy and encourage trade and investment.
                  However, national infrastructures necessary to bring about a fast economic transition
                  should be in place in order to exploit the existing and potential resources of the country.
                  Thus, the development of national information infrastructure (NII) is considered as one of
                  the national strategic components to make change and improve the determinants in socio-
                  economic performance.

                  The national development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)
                  primarily enables the government to be proactive, among other things, to introduce
                  efficiency and transparency in its governance.

                  Thus, in order to hasten the capacity building in the domain of NII and thereby
                  appropriately exploit the untapped national and international information resources a
                  coherent national policy and strategy on ICTs becomes imperative.

                  This policy document, therefore, covers Vision and Missions (policy directives) of the
                  NII, Policy statements, National strategies, and Priority programs.

                   2. SCOPE

                  This policy considers the convergence of computing, telecommunications and
                  broadcasting technologies, which generally forms the present information and
                  communication technologies (ITCs), and the need for a systematized organization, access
                  and preservation of information.

                  Building up and exploitation of an integrated ICTs infrastructure, resources and services
                  and enabling the socio-economic development endeavors of the country to utilize
                  multidisciplinary information as one of the most important tools for planning,
                  management, operations and international competitiveness are the prime concern of this
                  policy.

                   3. OBJECTIVES

                   The objectives of the ICT policy are for ensuring:

                        ·   the optimum exploitation of the role that ICT plays in national development
                            programmes, and
                        ·    the building up of the required capacity of national ICT infrastructure.
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                    4. VISION

                  It is to exploit ICTs for the enhancement of efficiency and effectiveness at the civil
                  services, optimization of the flow of information at all levels, and to maximally facilitate
                  connectivity to the global information infrastructure and lay a firm foundation for e-
                  business by the year 2010.

                  5. GOALS

                       ·    Designed and maintained appropriate systems to capture indigenous knowledge
                            and local content development
                       ·    Established information infrastructure comprising of broad band communication
                            backbone, nodes, access network, distributed data warehouses and service
                            locations to cater to the needs of trade, commerce, industry and tourism and
                            enhance the delivery of government services;
                       ·    Sufficiently addressed ICT human resources requirements in the public sector
                            through an aggressive ICTs education and training programs in the national
                            education system and increased use of ICTs in educational institutes;
                       ·    Internet connected schools and higher education system which will serve as the
                            major outlet for mass ICT literacy;
                       ·    Automated all public service delivery systems on network basis and made capable
                            to maintain and deliver basic information
                       ·    Built up national telecommunications infrastructure which has broadband capacity
                            to provide an integrated and multimedia service;
                       ·    Established public information gateways for harnessing, developing and
                            integrating public information resources and services;
                       ·    The traditional public library system transformed into a network of electronic
                            libraries, and new ones established;
                       ·    Laid the ground for gradual application of electronic commerce;
                       ·    Standardized data collection, processing and exchange;
                       ·    Developed educational standards, best practices and guidelines for the
                            deployment and exploitation of ICTs in the schools, colleges and the universities;
                       ·    Developed internet technology as a medium of communication and content
                            development infrastructure;
                       ·    Introduced and established appropriate technologies for the handicapped;


                  6. POLICY STATEMENTS

                       1.    The establishment and development of national ICT resources and services as an
                             integral part of the national development plan shall be promoted;
                       2.    Cooperative spirit and practice among the stakeholders as well as the necessary
                             coordinating structures shall be established ;
                       3.    The indigenous generation of information, and improve the quality of
                             information content and services shall be strengthened;
                       4.    Access to public and private sector information resources shall be supported;
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                        5.   Standard information processing methods and facilities to ensure compatibility
                             for the optimization of the availability and reliability of data/information shall be
                             developed;
                        6.   The development of human resource in information and computer sciences shall
                             be promoted and supported;
                        7.   An effective legal and regulatory framework which enables to integrate, speed
                             up and monitor the development of national information infrastructure (NII)
                             shall be provided ;
                        8.   Programs on community based information services through support of
                             information and communication infrastructure development shall be
                             strengthened;

                  7. NATIONAL STRATEGIES

                   1.     Design a national work plan for the development of national and institutional ICTs
                          resources and services as an integral part of the overall national development plans;
                   2.     Promote regional, sub-regional, bilateral and multilateral co-operation in ICT;
                   3.     Formulate a set of national legal frameworks development of information resources
                          and services and integrate it in the national development policies;
                   4.     Adopt methods and procedures which would ensure that the government institutions
                          contribute and provide support to the development, operation, and coordination of
                          national information system;
                   5.     Promote the creation of bilateral and multilateral relations and cooperation with
                          organizations which are involved in ICTs activities and those promoting the
                          development of ICTs infrastructure and services;
                   6.     Institute programs and activities that ensure the integration and support of ICTs in
                          institutional strategic development programs;
                   7.     Provide a separate ICTs budget line in all projects, programs organizational,
                          sectoral and national development;
                   8.     Establish high level inter-sectoral national ICTs Council;
                   9.     Coordination of national ICTs activities through the preparation of sectoral ICT
                          implementation, monitoring and evaluation guidelines and manuals;
                   10.    Encourage the private sector investment by creating attractive environment through
                          introducing appropriate and implementable incentives;
                   11.    Develop partnerships between government and the private sector in developing and
                          exploiting the national information infrastructure;
                   12.    Facilitate the participation of diaspora and civil societies/communities in the ICTs
                          development process;
                   13.    Develop effective and productive use of national frequency and spectrum resources;
                   14.    Ensure the availability of legal measures against misuse, negligence and for not
                          adhering to the prevention and recovery standards and procedures set at
                          national/sectoral/institutional levels;
                   15.    Encourage affordable acquisition, production and mass distribution of educational
                          materials, basic electronic media, contents and facilities.
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                  8. PRIORITY AREAS

                  In view of the need to put in place a strong basis for a national information and
                  communication infrastructure, the national ICT policy gives priority to the following
                  areas:
                      8.1 Building Telecommunication Infrastructure
                      8.2 Ensuring the establishment of a reliable, secure and affordable national
                          information network;
                      8.3 Provide leased lines for value added service networks and public information
                          gateways;
                      8.4 Sectoral and institutional in-house network capacity building

                         1.   Ensure the establishment of in-house (sectoral/ institutional) network
                              infrastructure in the different sectors of the economy;
                         2.   Identify and support potential areas manageable to develop local capacity for
                              manufacturing of ICT equipment;
                         3.   Libraries or information centers should establish network to share their resources
                              by using electronic delivery mechanisms; and
                         4.   Support all high schools and higher education institutions to have internet
                              connectivity.

                  8.3         Human Resources Development

                    1.  Formulate and implement a national ICTs personnel development strategy;
                    2.  Establish an ICT excellence center where intensive, practical and quality training
                        courses will be provided, and to re-engineer the existing professionals with relevant
                        background from public and private sectors;
                    3. Re-orient engineering and other ICTs related courseware to accommodate new
                        developments in the field of ICTs and geared towards greater responsiveness to
                        industry needs;
                    4. Establish career structure for the ICT professionals at national level;
                    5. Encourage and support professional associations in the field of ICTs and maintain
                        collaborative relationship;
                    6. Identify and encourage distance learning programs for ICT;
                    7. Provide the necessary institutional set-up to support ICTs exploitation within the
                        public service operational structure as a strategic reform program;
                    8. Develop national programs to encourage computer literacy at all levels;
                    9. Prepare ICT oriented national curriculum for ICT education;
                    10. Establish ICT vocational or polytechnic institutes;
                    11. Improve the educational delivery system through the application of ICTs; and
                    12. Attract nationals in Diaspora and develop programs to transfer their knowledge and
                        skills.
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                  8. 4     Contents and Applications
                          Adopt nationally integrated and, sectorally and regionally distributed content and
                         1.
                          access structure;
                     2. Strengthen data warehousing for promoting trade and commerce, and for
                          enhancing delivery of government services;
                     3. Enable public and private sectors homepages publishing and/or linked to
                          standard back end applications to facilitate wider public access and transactions
                          to information on key policies, programs, products and services;
                     4. Localize the existing global knowledge and contents for indigenous utilization;
                     5. Promote the digitization of the existing indigenous hard copy information
                          resources, with cultural and permanent heritage value, for the purpose of
                          preservation and effective utilization;
                     6. Develop innovative, high impact and deployable sectoral and national
                          applications and encourage inter-sectoral and inter-regional collaboration in
                          information exchange and;
                     7. Support professional associations for advanced ICT training programs in
                          producing analytical research outputs;
                     8. Support electronic media backed archive management, presentation, disposal
                          and utilization.
                     9. Support the print and publishing industries targeted to community based
                          information content production and development;
                     10. Support and encourage local language based contents and applications
                          development initiatives.
                     11. Encourage and support multimedia-based contents and application development,
                          mass communication and information delivery.
                  8.5 Diffusion and Dissemination of ICT Services and Products
                   1. Organize and promote such awareness raising programs as annual fair/annual
                       events/ national ICTs week and an ICTs software competition;
                   2. Organize ICTs advocacy program, as well as extensive and more focused trade
                       mission to promote investment on ICTs;
                   3. Develop public information kiosks systems;
                   4. Encourage social groups to participate in the provision and dissemination of ICTs
                       based services and products;
                   5. Facilitate the establishment and strengthening of ICT promotion and technical
                       support centers, and community information service centers in Regional States;
                   6. Continue to support the establishment and strengthening of public libraries, reading
                       places at various localities across the country to develop reading and information
                       seeking behavior of the society.
                   7. Educate and protect internet users, particularly the youth from accessing resources
                       which would degrade cultural norms and moral values and,
                  8.6 Data Security
                     1. Ensure the set up of data security standards and procedures, supported by the
                          necessary hardware and software, to maximally prevent systems and data
                          failures and effective recovery of the same that satisfy the required level of
                          system and data integrity and quality;
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                        Access rights and systems security structures through ICTs should incorporate
                       2.
                        features that cater for different user profiles, data categories including transitory
                        data organization;
                     3. Ascertain the rights and consents of individuals in the collection, transfer of and
                        access to any personal data and that individuals have the right to learn about the
                        purpose, accuracy, completeness and up-to-dateness of their personal data.
                  8.7 Standards

                     1. Develop and ensure the implementation of primary information collection,
                        sectoral and institutional information processing formats and procedures;
                     2. Create standards for interconnectivity and interoperability of computer networks;
                     3. Establish standard public security key and implement it in electronic data
                        interchange and,
                     4. Introduce characters setting and keyboard layout for local language
                        computerization and adopt UNICODE technology.
                     5. Ensure the standardization of the quality of information presentation using ICTs
                        and the media carrying such information, and create as system for so doing;
                     6. Encourage quality management system for systems development procedures and
                        strategies;
                  8.8 R & D in ICT
                     1. Encourage the participation of professionals to conduct research and
                          development activities on practical problem areas in all phases of the
                          information system development cycle;
                     2. Ensure that research projects and programs are aimed at solving local problems,
                          meet national needs and enhance the development of professional knowledge in
                          the field, and the dissemination of their output;
                     3. Encourage that R&D should also focus on high-value added ICTs products and
                          services as well as on product creation, design and improvement in software
                          development.