11 February 2014

Zambia: Computer Assembly Plant On Cards

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has announced plans to set up a computer assembly plant in Lusaka as Government intensifies efforts to create more jobs to reduce unemployment.

The Head of State said the project would be spearheaded through the Zambia Information Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA).

He said on his Facebook book yesterday that the establishment of the computer assembly plant would create jobs and lead to availability of affordable low-cost computer equipment to citizens.

Mr Sata said Government was committed to promoting the universal access to Information Communication and Technology (ICT) services and products to the people to boost job creation and increase productivity in the economy.

The assembly plant, he said, would encourage value addition through the use of local resources such as copper in the manufacture and assembly process.

"In this regard, in 2014, our Government will through ZICTA spearhead the establishment of a computer assembly plant in Lusaka.

"Some of the benefits of the computer assembly plant include job creation, availability of affordable low-cost computer equipment to citizens as well as value addition through use of some local resources such as copper in the manufacture and assembly process," he said.

Mr Sata also said Government, through ZICTA, had been implementing the 'Connecting Learning Institutions Project' aimed at establishing computer laboratories in public primary, secondary and tertiary education institutions to enhance the quality of education.

He said as of December 2013, ZICTA had completed the setting up of computer laboratories in 47 public colleges and 150 primary and secondary schools.

"Having computers in all schools is a priority of our Government," President Sata said.

He said by the end of this year, the on-going optic fibre network expansion was expected to cover a distance of 8,000 kilometres from the current distance of 7, 385 kilometres.

Mr Sata said the project would contribute significantly to Government's goal of narrowing the digital divide between urban and rural areas, and stimulate socio-economic growth in the country.

He said in 2013, a project was launched through ZICTA to set up 169 global System for Mobile Communication sites countrywide aimed at providing coverage to un-served chiefdoms and other rural populations.

"This project is on-going and is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year at a cost of US$24 million.

"The 169 towers project will bring benefits of mobile phone service and the other services riding on it such as mobile money to more than 200, 000 citizens amongst the rural population," he said.

Mr Sata said Government was focused on promoting e-commerce and the use of ICT in trade promotion, establishing e-Government online services and promoting e-education, e-health and e-agriculture.

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