BUJUMBURA May 29th (ABP) – The Vice President of the Republic of Burundi, Mr. Prosper Bazombanza, honored the ceremonies marking the World Telecommunications and the Information Society Day, 2021 edition with his presence on Thursday, May 27, 2021. The ceremonies were held under the theme “Accelerating digital transformation.”
Mr. Bazombanza specified in his speech for the occasion that this day, which recalls the creation of the international telecommunications unit in 1865, of which Burundi is a member, is of paramount importance in the field of telecommunications. This is an opportunity to take a retrospective look at the step taken and measure the magnitude of the challenges ahead. He added that the theme chosen especially in that particular period linked to the COVID-19 pandemic underlines the role of ICT in order to have the continuity of the normal functioning of direct services.
According to the Vice President of the Republic, the day offers Burundi the possibility of stimulating the digital transformation by promoting realistic national strategies for the development of ICTs, smart policies aimed at encouraging investment, cooperation and partnership in that field. He also asserted that the government of Burundi understood the role of ICTs through the initiation of certain projects. These include the adoption of a development plan with the overall objective of structurally transforming the economy of Burundi with strong, sustainable, resilient, inclusive, creative growth and decent jobs for all and inducing improvement in the social well-being. The Vice President thanked mobile operators and internet service providers for showing interest in supporting the ICT sector.
The Minister of Communication, Information Technologies and Media, Mrs. Marie Chantal Nijimbere recalled that ICTs are an accelerator of economic growth. She added that ICTs are the undeniable engine of universal access to the information society.
According to her, telecommunications play a strategic role in economic development in various sectors of activity that affect the majority of the population. She cited in particular agriculture, finance, tourism, industry, education, medicine, to name but a few. She also said that in Burundi, the celebration of telecommunications and information society day was preceded by visits to digital actors, operators and internet service providers. This makes it possible to highlight advances in telecommunications, meet the challenges and raise awareness on strengthening efforts to promote universal access to ICTs in Burundi and digital transformation. She called on digital actors and all stakeholders operating in the ICT sector to continue their efforts to harness the potential operating through ICTs in order to promote the government’s orientations through its national development plan.
Statistics in the ICT sector in Burundi show that this sector is evolving in an increasing way and contributes significantly to the socio-economic development of the country. However, the internet usage rate remains to be desired as it was found that at the end of 2020 internet users did not exceed 12% per 100 inhabitants.
Operators working in the field of ICTs are asking the government to revise downward the tariffs of taxes and duties on imports and the problem of currencies as well as power cuts. They also pointed out that the terminals are very expensive in relation to the purchasing power. On those concerns, the Vice President of the Republic calmed them down while reassuring that the government will spare no effort to support the activities of the ICT sector.