Recent reports in the Tanzanian press indicate that the government hopes to encourage investors to establish mobile phone assembly lines in Tanzania in order to bring affordable smartphones to unserved members of the population.
This effort will be part of plans to help the country reach 80 percent internet access in by 2025.
The country, whose population is estimated at just over 61 million, has about 43.7 million mobile phone subscribers. However, only 23.1 million of them can access the internet. About 86 per cent of people in rural areas do not have internet connectivity compared to 44.6 per cent in urban areas.
According to the Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) director general, Amos Nungu, the availability of affordable smartphones would revolutionise internet use and help spur economic growth.
Nungu said the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) was working closely with stakeholders to ensure a majority of Tanzanians can afford smartphones to access the internet. The government also aims to ensure that optic fibre is rolled out in both rural and urban areas.
No details of the plans for enabling smartphone production have yet been revealed. Nor is it clear how the network access the smartphones would require will be made available in rural areas of the country that are at present unconnected.