Document Sample
                         14TH NOVEMBER, 2007
                    PARADISE HOTEL, BAGAMOYO

Chairperson of the Conference,

Hon. Prof. Peter Msolla (MP)
Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology,

Hon. Dr. Christine Ishengoma
Regional Commissioner for Coast Region,

Honourable Members of Parliament (MPs),

Conference Sponsors and Facilitators,

Permanent Secretaries,

Members of the Diplomatic Missions,

Distinguished Conference Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed my great pleasure to be given this opportunity to officiate the
opening of the Fifth International Conference on Open Access, being
held here in Bagamoyo. I should admit, at the outset, that this is an
important conference in view of the significance of open access to
information and communication technology in our modern life. I would
like to commend the Organisers for availing the opportunity to Tanzania
to host this conference for the first time. It is, therefore, an honour to us,
in this country, to be paying host to this important conference

considering that this is only the second time a gathering on open access
is being held in Africa after Mozambique hosted the third conference
host to this important organizing this Conference for the first time in
Tanzania and the second time a gathering on open access is being held
in Africa after Mozambique hosted the third conference in 2005. But
what is also delighting to note is the good and diverse attendance at this
Conference by participants from various countries. I wish to say that
this is a clear testimony of the importance attached to the issues before
this conference.

I believe the distinguished delegates have been warmly received when
you arrived here, but I would also like, on behalf of the people of the
United Republic of Tanzania, and on my own behalf, to extend to every
one of you a very warm welcome to Tanzania. It is my hope that you
will not only have a comfortable and memorable stay here but also
fruitful and conclusive deliberations during the conference.

Mr. Chairman.
Distinguished Delegates,

I wish to commend the organisers for coming up with a theme for the
Fifth International Conference on Open Access which addresses the
challenges of accessing opportunities availed to us by modern changes.
This theme. , “How Societies Benefit from Open Access to Information
and Communication Technology (ICT)” is an important one which cuts
across all pertinent sectors of socioeconomic development which
include education, good governance, health, energy, utilities and
environment. I I must admit that this theme, for all intent and purposes,
is in line with the priorities of the Fourth Phase Government, of this
country, under the able leadership of His Excellency President Jakaya
Mrisho Kikwete.

I am pleased to note, also, that the sub-themes are, likewise, focused
on issues addressed in the National Information and Communication
Technology issues addressed in the National Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) Policy, which is firmly embedded in
the Tanzania developmental vision that is “Vision 2025”.

I would say that our Government is quite aware of the importance of
open access, and its benefits. In his speech of 30th December, 2005
when he was inaugurating the Fourth Phase Government was to

stimulate faster economic growth, so as to increase the incomes of the
people of this country, in order to enable them to have a better life. He
went on to highlight critical issues and priorities of the government that
needed to be addressed to enhance the use of science and technology,
and improve prospects of the productive sectors and social services
throughout the country.

He mentioned them as ensuring the prevalence of peace, stability and
unity; protection and promotion of the successes of the three preceding
phases of government; intensifying war on poverty, illiteracy and
disease; adherence to god governance, accountability and rule of law,
and respect for human rights; enhancing capacity to maintain law and
order and protect life and property; ensuring security of national
borders; maintenance of good relations with other countries; paying
attention to the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups;
promotion of environment conservation; and promotion of sports and
cultural activities.

Mr. Chairman
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you all know, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a
very critical pillar of a modern economy simply because it provides
useful ways for narrowing the knowledge gap among the people. In
fact, the problem of accessing Information and Communication
Technology (ICT), is a major factor leading to low literacy rates, low
incomes and limited number of service providers. As you may observe,
the recent increase in the use of Information and Communication
Technology (ICT), including mobile telephones, has tended to make it
dominantly an urban phenomenon.                In general, application of
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a critical “soft”
infrastructure in our country is still inadequate and, for this reason, there
is urgent need to promote it further a field.

It is in this direction that the government has been working hard to
create a conducive environment for investment, introduction and use of
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in our national
development efforts and government operations. Various programmes
have been initiated in the promotion, application and use of Information
and Communication Technology services. There is a pressing need for
us to make best use of Information and Communication Technology
(ICT) for open access to information which is vital to the process of
affecting development activities. Over the last years, the deployment of

Information and Communication Technology has brought about
improvement in livehoods and increased productivity in economic
activities. Annual per capital income per individual has increased from
Sh. 360,865 in 2005 to Sh. 399,873 in 2006. Faster growth has been
noticeable in urban – oriented commercial activities such as wholesale
and retail trade and hotels. In the health sector, there has been
substantial reduction in infant and under five mortality as well as
reduced rates of child malnutrition.

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I need not overemphasise the fact that information is a fundamental
factor of production, alongside capital and labour. The increasing
information intensity of governance and other economic activities are
the ones which are leading in the need for better and other economic
activities are the ones which are leading in the need for better
information and communications systems.

It goes without saying that Open Access should include the availability
of information, knowledge and innovations. It should be free of charge
and free from most copyright and licensing restrictions, depending,
however, on the consent of the author or copyright-holder. Open
Access is, therefore very important, in the context of a developing
country like Tanzania, and other countries in Africa, for that matter,
where availability of books constitutes a major challenge, especially in
the training sector.

Let me quote a Chinese Proverb which, I believe, captures the rationale
for Open Access, when it says, I quote “When someone shares
something of value with you, and you benefit from it, you have a moral
obligation to share it with others”. Unquote.

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
After all has been said, I believe the challenge is now on all of you to do
the needful for the realisation of open access. Among the things you
need to do is, first, to make sure that information does not remain a
scarce commodity in our society. Allowing information to be scarce,

simply means marginalising participation of the people, in
socioeconomic activities.       You should secondly, popularize the
utilization of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) in all
our socio-economic activities, especially those relating to farming,
tourism, health and education. I believe, in this way, Information and
Communication technology (ICT) would immensely equip the people,
including those who are disadvantaged, in one way or the other, with
the information, knowledge and skills with which to improve their social
and economic state. Open access should, therefore be, liberative to
women and other disadvantaged groups through access to information
which could be enlightening on various aspects of their activities and
lives. It is a fact that small and medium enterprises, and SACCOS
contribute substantially to the economy in most of our countries. Our
government has, therefore, taken deliberate steps to encourage and
promote SACCOS since they have great potential in improving
livelihoods and in fighting poverty. There has been a great increase in
numbers of SACCOS from 1,875 in 2005 to 3,469 in 2007. Cooperative
societies have also increased from 2,616 in 2005 to 2,659 in 2007.
Open access to information could, therefore, enable them to know,
among other things, conditions and procedures for loans which
SACCOS and other small businesses, may need from banks, credit
institutions, such as PRIDE, and other entrepreneuring initiatives. In its
efforts to empower the people economically, the government set aside
Shs. 21 billion in the 2006/2007 budget as credit guarantee for loans to
the people in all regions on Tanzania Mainland. These funds were
extended as loans to entrepreneurs, through SACCOS, by CRDB and
NMB banks to finance their activities. However, as you know, many of
these small group business activities are mostly in urban areas, where
such institutions are based. Open access to information could also
assist SACCOS in rural settings to similarly access these credit facilities
and ensure their growth and development.

   But, lastly, you should also make Kiswahili a key language of
   Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It is through
   Kiswahili that you would guarantee the dissemination and reception
   of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) message to all
   the people, not only in this country but also to more than 110 million
   people, across Africa and beyond, taking into account the track
   record of Kiswahili in various radio programmes.

Mr. Chairman
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the quest for enhanced socioeconomic development, Tanzania as
adopted a Development Vision 2025. She has put in place a National
Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty, known by its Kiswahili
acronym as MKUKUTA, as a vehicle to achieve this vision and set
development goals. I should say that MKUKUTA is a strongly outcome
focused strategy. Communication is a vital component of MKUKUTA in
recognition of the importance of creating awareness to empower people
to render their effective participation in the implementation of the

Under the Development Vision, the overall long term goal for Tanzania
is to attain sustainable human development, by the year 2025, with all
the prerequisites for achieving a fully developed economy. In the
technological sphere, the Development Vision envisages effective
harnessing of the technological development to enable Tanzania meet
basic needs of her people, and achieve international competitiveness.
In other words what is envisaged is the attainment of a people centred,
an inclusive information and knowledge based society in Tanzania.

Suffice it to say that the Government fully recognizes that the use of
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) will speed up and
improve services to the people, and stimulate the overall socioeconomic
development of Tanzania. Various Programmes have been initiated
and are being implemented in this country as part of the process of
making effective use of Information and Communication Technology.
Let me take this opportunity, therefore, to emphasise on the need for
partnership and cooperation with all stakeholders, in the private sector
as well as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) experts,
for the realisation of benefits of open access to Information and
Communication Technology. This would facilitate our Government to
implement and realise Vision 2025 and achieve the set goals of

It is my hope that you will use this opportunity to deliberate on the
challenges facing this country and the African continent, in general, and
at the end, come out with implementable solutions. Limited access is
limiting our country, obviously, from benefiting from opportunities offered
by Information and Communication Technology. The Government
would be pleased, therefore, to receive, through the responsible
Ministry; recommendations which would be reached at this conference.

I would like to assure you that our Government is open and willing, to
listen to views and ideas which you may have on how to bring quality
services, and modern technology, to the people through Open Access.

Mr. Chairman,
Invited Guests,
Distinguished Delegates
Before concluding my remarks, I would like to express my sincere
appreciation to all those who have supported, in various ways and
forms, the holding of this important conference in our country. It was
quite encouraging to observe several local stakeholders come forward,
and volunteer, to render their support to this momentous event.

Although this has already been done, I wish also to make special
mention of the Government of Sweden, which through the Swedish
International Development Agency (SIDA), has extended critical support
to this conference, as part of its continuing, and enthusiastic, support to
among others, the communications sector in Tanzania. I am quite sure
that this valuable support from all the sponsors, and participating
delegates, ahs ensured this successful holding of the Conference.

Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and Gentlemen,,
Let me end my speech on an optimistic note. It is my confidence that
deliberations, and conclusions, of this conference ill make an important
contribution, in these coming days, to the realisation of open access.

I would like to thank the delegates for coming and I wish all of you a rich
and engaging conference as well as a most pleasant stay in Tanzania. I
believe, this is a beginning of our interaction, and future cooperation.

Finally, with these few remarks, it is my pleasure to declare that the Fifth
International Conference on Open Access is now officially open.

I thank you all for your kind attention.