Building Resilient Digital Infrastructure Heart of Ethiopia’s Transformation Agenda: Ministry of Innovation

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Addis Ababa (ENA) November 28/2022 Ethiopian Minister of Innovation, Belete Mola underscored that building a resilient infrastructure is at the core of the Digital Transformation Agenda of Ethiopia.

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On the side session entitled: “Best Practices and Recommendations for Digital Inclusion Through Resilient Infrastructure (ITU),” was held in Addis Ababa today as part of the 17th Global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) .    

In his keynote address to the session, the  innovation minister said creating digital equity requires creating a situation where all individuals and communities have the digital capacity.

This digital equity is vital for full participation in the society, democracy, and economy, he pointed out.

“Without digital equity, it is hardly possible to ensure equal participation in civic and cultural activities, employment opportunities and access to essential services. Unless there is a coordinated effort by the stakeholders, the gap between those who have affordable access, skills, and support to effectively engage online and those who do not is expanding to the worst.”

In this regard, such initiatives which envision ensuring available, affordable and resilient digital infrastructure, should be expanded and supported so that they can address the challenges of the list developed countries, Belete noted.

As Ethiopia has prioritized resilient infrastructure in its Digital Transformation Agenda, the minister noted that the country has succeeded in ICT reform.

“In the last three years, Ethiopia has scored remarkable achievements in reforming the ICT sector. There are also efforts made in connecting schools and health facilities throughout the country. Reforming the legal and regulatory environment to build a strong National Digital Ecosystem is also underway. We are also in the processes of launching a national study to redefine the national Broadband plan.”

However, despite the recent significant growth of mobile and internet subscribers, significant part of the Ethiopian population still do not have accesses to the internet, Belete said.

Noting that Ethiopia will continue its effort to ensure a meaningful access to the internet by the citizens, the minister reiterated the nation’s commitment to collaborating with partners to ensure the Digital Transformation of Ethiopia.

Matthew Harrison-Harvey, Chief External Affairs and Regulatory Officer of Safaricom Ethiopia said on his part that Safaricom is working in partnership with Ethiopian government for transforming the digital landscape of the country.

Specifically, Safaricom with its shareholders and the government is  committed to maximizing access to small phones and access to the internet in Ethiopia.

“Working in partnership with the government and other stakeholders, we wish to explore a partnership–a working group pilot in Ethiopia, including finance and subside funding mechanisms, policy and  regulatory decision, investment incentives to reduce  the supply chain cost, digital literacy and skills development.”

The 17th Global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) kicked off today  under the motto: “Resilient Internet for shared and common future”.

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