TCRA’s 2023 Report: Internet and Social Media Usage, Should We Expect Rising Cyber Threats?

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Tanzania’s soaring digital literacy rate fuels business success and drives economic growth. As more and more Tanzanians gain access to the Internet and learn how to use digital technologies, businesses can reach new customers, improve their operations, and increase their productivity. This is leading to a surge in economic activity and job creation nationwide.

Digital literacy uses digital technologies to access, create, and share information. It is an essential skill in the contemporary business landscape, where businesses increasingly rely on digital technologies to operate and grow. Tanzania has made significant strides in digital literacy in recent years. The country’s internet penetration rate has increased from 10.6% in 2015 to 48.5% in 2022, while mobile phone penetration has reached 90.1%. This has created a fertile ground for the growth of digital businesses and traditional businesses’ adoption of digital technologies.

Overview of Tanzania’s Digital Infrastructure

Tanzania has invested heavily in expanding its digital infrastructure in recent years. The country now has a nationwide fibre optic network, 4G LTE and 5G coverage in all major towns and cities. This has improved internet accessibility and connectivity for businesses and individuals nationwide.

According to the World Bank, Tanzania’s fixed broadband penetration rate increased from 0.1% in 2015 to 1.3% in 2021, while mobile broadband penetration increased from 10.6% to 48.5% during the same period. This improvement in digital infrastructure has played a vital role in facilitating businesses’ and individuals’ adoption of digital technologies.

Businesses and Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is essential for businesses that want to remain competitive and thriving in the 21st century. Businesses can benefit from digital literacy in various ways, including improved communication and collaboration by Adopting Digital Marketing Strategies, increased productivity and efficiency by integrating E-commerce Platforms, expanding reach and market opportunities and making it easier for businesses to collect customer feedback and respond to market needs.

Adoption of Digital Marketing Strategies: Many Tanzanian businesses are now using digital marketing strategies to reach a broader range of customers and promote their products and services. For example, Tanzanian fashion brands use social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to reach customers nationwide and in neighbouring countries. According to a recent report by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), social media usage in Tanzania has increased by 30% in the past year, with Facebook and Instagram being the most popular platforms.

Integration of E-commerce Platforms: Many Tanzanian businesses also integrate e-commerce platforms into their operations. This allows them to sell their products and services online to customers from all over the world. For example, Tanzanian online retailers like Kupatana, Inalipa, and others sell a wide range of products, including electronics, clothing, and home goods, to customers across Tanzania and other African countries. The e-commerce market in Tanzania is expected to grow to $1.2 billion by 2025 (Statista, 2023).

Social Media’s Role in Business Outreach: Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram play an increasingly important role in business outreach in Tanzania. Businesses use these platforms to connect with customers, build relationships, and promote their products and services. For example, the Tanzanian telecommunications company Vodacom Tanzania uses social media to support customers, announce new products and services and run promotional campaigns. In 2022, Vodacom Tanzania had over 300,000 followers on Twitter and over 1 million followers on Facebook.

Customer Feedback and Market Response: Digital technologies are making it easier for businesses to collect customer feedback and respond to market needs. For example, businesses can use social media to survey customers’ satisfaction with products and services and identify new product and service opportunities. According to a recent survey by the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA), 80% of businesses in Tanzania use social media to collect customer feedback.

Economic Growth and Digital Literacy

Tanzania’s economy has grown steadily in recent years. The country’s GDP growth rate averaged 6.8% between 2017 and 2022. This economic growth has been driven by several factors, including the country’s soaring digital literacy rate.

There is a strong correlation between Tanzania’s digital literacy rate and its economic growth rate. According to a 2023 report by the World Bank, a 10% increase in digital literacy can boost a country’s GDP by 2%. This is because digital literacy enables businesses to operate more efficiently and effectively and to reach new customers and markets.

For instance,  In 2023, the digital economy contributed more than 7.2% to Tanzania’s GDP. This contribution is expected to grow in the coming years as more and more businesses and individuals adopt digital technologies. The TIC report also found that the digital sector is one of the highest-paying sectors in the country. This is because businesses are willing to pay a premium for employees with the skills and knowledge necessary to help them succeed in the digital economy.

Job Creation and Workforce Transformation

The digital transformation of the Tanzanian economy is creating new jobs and transforming the workforce. New job sectors like e-commerce, digital marketing, and software development are emerging. At the same time, traditional job sectors such as banking and retail are being transformed by digital technologies. The following are some of the emerging job sectors in Tanzania: E-commerce, Digital Marketing, Software development, Data science, Cybersecurity, Cloud computing, and others.

Tanzania’s soaring digital literacy rate fuels business success and drives economic growth. Businesses use digital technologies to reach new customers, improve operations, and increase productivity. This is leading to a surge in economic activity and job creation nationwide.

Technological Innovations

New technological innovations, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), will likely significantly impact digital literacy in Tanzania in the future. AI is already being used to develop new educational tools and resources to help people learn digital skills more effectively. For example, AI-powered chatbots can provide personalized learning support to students and learners of all ages.

IoT devices are also becoming increasingly popular in Tanzania. IoT devices such as smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices can access various digital information and services. However, it is essential to note that IoT devices also raise new cybersecurity concerns.

Addressing the Digital Divide

Despite the significant progress in recent years, the digital divide remains a challenge in Tanzania. There is a substantial gap in access to the Internet and digital technologies between urban and rural areas. According to a 2023 report by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), 67.8% of Tanzanians in urban areas have internet access, compared to only 28.9% in rural areas.

In addition to the urban-rural divide, there is also a need to ensure that digital training programs are inclusive and accessible to all Tanzanians, regardless of their gender, age, or socioeconomic status.

We must remember that as the digital economy grows, so do the cybersecurity risks businesses and individuals face. Tanzania is no exception. In 2022, the TCRA reported a more than 30% increase in cybercrime incidents compared to the previous year. Cybersecurity is a primary concern for businesses, as they can suffer significant financial and reputational damage from a cyberattack. Individuals are also at risk of cybercrime, such as identity theft and financial fraud.

Policy Recommendations

To further accelerate the digital transformation of the Tanzanian economy and create more digital jobs, the government can implement the following policy recommendations:

Invest in digital infrastructure: The government should continue to invest in expanding and upgrading the country’s digital infrastructure. This includes investing in fibre optic networks, mobile broadband networks, and data centres. Improved digital infrastructure will make it easier for businesses and individuals to access and use digital technologies.

Promote digital skills development: The government should work with the private sector and educational institutions to promote digital skills development. This includes training programs for businesses and individuals on using digital technologies for business and personal development. A skilled workforce is essential for the digital economy transformation and creation of digital jobs.

Support the growth of digital businesses: The government should create a supportive environment for the growth of digital businesses through the internet. This includes providing tax incentives, access to finance, and other forms of support to digital businesses. A thriving digital startup ecosystem will drive innovation and create new digital jobs.

To sustain the momentum of digital transformation in Tanzania, addressing the challenges of the digital divide and cybersecurity concerns is essential. The government, the private sector, and civil society organizations must work together to ensure that all Tanzanians have access to the Internet and digital technologies and are equipped with the skills and knowledge to use these technologies safely and effectively.

By investing in digital literacy and innovation, Tanzania can position itself to compete effectively in the global digital economy. The country has a growing young population and a large pool of talented entrepreneurs. By investing in these assets, Tanzania can become a leader in the digital economy and create new opportunities for its businesses and citizens.

Also read: The Dark Side of Online Transactions in Tanzania: Are You Safe?

A talented journalist with a degree in Mass Communication. With extensive experience in the field of journalism, Matonyinga brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his writing. His passion for storytelling and dedication to excellence has made him a respected figure in the industry. Prior to embarking on a career in journalism, Matonyinga honed his skills through various roles, gaining valuable insights along the way. His unique perspective and ability to captivate audiences have garnered him a loyal following.

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