Why Tanzania for the 2023 Edition of the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa? 

By CIPESA Writer |

The tenth edition of the annual Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica23) is just under ten days away. The Collaboration in International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) will this year alongside the Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology of the United Republic of Tanzania host this special edition of FIFAfrica23 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This is in line with the country’s progressive shift to advance digitalisation for sustainable development. 

As at December 2022, Tanzania had over 60 million phone subscriptions, translating into a penetration rate of 98%, an estimated 31.1 million internet connections, and 40.9 million registered mobile money accounts. The national Development Plan and Tanzania Development Vision 2025 prioritise the digital economy and outline various intervention areas for accelerating broadband penetration, access, innovation, eServices and local content development, among others. Further, the National ICT Policy, 2016 recognises that ICT is central to social and economic transformation. 

Tanzania outperforms many other African countries in developing locally relevant mobile content and applications, including content in local languages. Tanzania was among the six African countries eligible to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP) at its launch back in 2011. Whereas the country later withdrew from the Partnership, its OGP Action Plans drawn up at the time, reflected Tanzania’s commitment to the four pillars of transparency, accountability, citizens’ participation, and technology and innovation. Indeed, among the reasons cited for the withdrawal from the OGP was its membership of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) whose objectives were similar to those of the OGP.

Notable government initiatives include the Tanzania National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) and the Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF) through which connectivity and infrastructure has been extended countrywide including in key sectors – education, health and gender equality. The Digital Tanzania Programme is also underway with  the aim to ​​”increase access to affordable, high quality internet services for government, businesses and citizens, and to improve the governments’ capacity to deliver digital public services”with three components: the Digital Ecosystem, Digital Connectivity, and Digital Government Platform and services. Meanwhile, the Data Protection and Privacy Bill tabled in 2014  was passed in November 2022.

Nonetheless, there have been concerns including a culture of secrecy among government officials, the cease of live broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings and disruptions to social media and online communication platforms. There has also been problematic legislation such as the restrictions on access to information under Statistics Act of 2015 as amended; mandatory registration and accreditation of journalists as well as harsh penalties under the  Media Services Act, 2016;  and the Cybercrimes Act, 2015, which criminalises offences related to computer systems and ICT.

According to the Global Connectivity Index of 2020, Tanzania is ranked 78 out of 79 countries in internet affordability. The high cost of access locks several Tanzanians out of the digital society.  In July 2021, Tanzania introduced a new airtime levy which users pay to telecom operators as they top-up airtime. The airtime tax, together with a 17% excise duty, 18% Value Added Tax (VAT) and a levy on mobile money transactions pose significant threats to the country’s progress in digital and financial inclusion. 

Under the leadership of its first female President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, a proponent for civil rights and women’s rights,has undergone reforms aimed at enhancing the country’s civic space and digitalisation agenda. Notably, proposals to amend the Online Content Regulations 2020 which entrenched the licensing and taxation of bloggers, online discussion forums, radio and television webcasters, and repressed online speech, privacy and access to information. The amendments contain various  positive elements such as removal of some ambiguous specification of obligations of service providers, the reduction of licensing fees, annual and renewal fees, and certainty of definitions of  “online media content services” and “online content aggregators”.

The amendments also relieved internet café operators from a number of obligations, including installation of surveillance cameras; assignment of static public IP addresses to all computers used; keeping of proper service user register; and having mechanisms to filter access to prohibited contents which were hard for café operators to comply with. However, the regulations maintained that mainstream media licensees still require an Online Media Services Licence for simulcasting or re-publication of content through the internet.

As Tanzania navigates a path towards positioning itself as a progressive state, it presents a unique opportunity for learning and engagement on the future of technology in Africa for economic growth, civic participation, meaningful connectivity and human rights.

The main Forum event takes place on 28-29 September 2023 and is preceded by a series invite-only pre-events (26-27 September 2023) which entail workshops, trainings and strategic meetings.  See the event agenda and speakers!

CIPESA Joins International Initiative to Develop “AI Charter in Media”

By CIPESA Writer |

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) has joined a conglomeration of  international organisations and experts to develop a charter aimed at guiding the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the media. 

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSJ), the group that is coordinating the development of the Charter, 16 partner organisations, as well as 31 media, AI and academic professionals representing 18 different nationalities, are involved in the process. The CIPESA Executive Director, Dr. Wairagala Wakabi, is among the experts on the committee that is led by journalist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa.

The RSJ stated that the growing interest in the project highlights the real need to clearly and collaboratively develop an ethical framework to safeguard information integrity, at a time when generative AI and other algorithm-based technologies are being rapidly deployed in the news and information sphere.

Part of the committee’s responsibility is to develop a set of principles, rights, and obligations for information professionals regarding the use of AI-based systems, by the end of 2023. This is a response to the realisation that the rapid deployment of AI in the media industry presents a major threat to information integrity.

See here details about the initiative, the partner organisations and experts.

Call for Applications: Digital Rights Hub for African CSOs

Announcement |

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) in conjunction with the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) is pleased to invite applications from representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs), lawyers and human rights defenders (HRDs) interested in pursuing collective advocacy strategies to address and respond to current and emerging threats to digital freedoms in Africa.

Successful applicants will constitute a “Dights Rights Hub” – a community of practice and strategic platform that will bring together traditional CSOs, lawyers and HRDs from across Africa to actively advance an enabling digital civic space on the continent.

The Hub will aim to; (i) promote enabling legal and policy frameworks governing digital rights at the national or local level, including through pushing back against current and emerging legislative threats/restrictions; and (ii) enhance civil society’s ability to exercise digital rights through targeted awareness creation and capacity building initiatives, research, strategic litigation, and engagement with multilateral mechanisms at the regional and international level.
ICNL and CIPESA will hold the pilot Digital Rights Hub training on September 26-27,
2023, in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

Read here for further details.

Job Opportunities at CIPESA

Announcement |

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)  is in a phase of dynamic growth and we are actively seeking exceptional individuals to join our team. We are excited to announce three job opportunities, and the application window remains open until September 12, 2023. To explore further, simply click on the role that resonates most with you: 

Job Opportunity: Procurement Officer

Announcement |

We are searching for a Procurement Officer who will be responsible for the efficient coordination and management of procurement functions for CIPESA.

See below for further details;

Job Description

Position: Procurement Officer

Organisation: Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)

Location: Kampala, Uganda

Duration: Two (2) years Full time- renewable

Reports to: Programme Manager

About Us: Established in 2004, CIPESA is a leading centre for research and analysis of information aimed to enable policy makers in the region to understand ICT policy issues, and for various multi-stakeholders to effectively use ICT to improve governance and livelihoods. Our work responds to shortage of information, resources and actors consistently working at the nexus of technology, human rights and society in Africa. We conduct our work mostly through research, advocacy, capacity development, and convenings.

Main Purpose of Job:

The Procurement Officer is responsible for the efficient coordination and management of procurement functions for CIPESA. The position holder will procure Program supplies, services and equipment, whilst ensuring good practices and maintaining audit-compliant records. You will ensure that all purchases of goods and services are done transparently, at the best available price, and in compliance with Organisational and donor procurement policy and procedures.

Key responsibilities

  1. Procurement: Responsible for implementing the procurement plan and strategy and ensuring all procurement needs are met on time in line with Global Supply Chain best practices (GSC) and donors’ standards, the role holder will:
  • Act upon submission of duly approved Purchase Requests (PR). Educate and support customers to ensure timely submission of approved PRs with sufficient details and realistic delivery target dates.
  • Process approved Purchase requisitions ensuring data accuracy.
    Initiate and process Request for quotations (RFQ) and Request for proposals (RFP).
    Prepare bids analysis and other bidding documents for approval.
    Conduct negotiations with suppliers that are transparent and documented.
  • Receive invoice and control against original order, advance payments/instalments already delivered, request for payment.
    For goods: Facilitate delivery of orders and collect Goods Received Note.
    For services: Facilitate delivery of services and ensure that the period of guarantee, after-sales service is mentioned.
  • Collaborate with all departments by Coordination with finance and programmes to ensure smooth and timely procurement.
  1. Procurement Planning
    Working closely with internal and external partners, you will effectively plan and support programme implementation by:
  • Collecting, organising, and analysing market information and data to enable effective procurement planning.
  • Preparing and implementing procurement plans following related Organisational procurement Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
  • Monitor supply market and conduct market surveys & analysis to ensure value for money in procurement.
  • Create and update supplier and price lists.
  1. Contract Management
    Lead the contracting process so that the terms and conditions, and contracting procedures as provided by Global Supply Chain best practices are followed. To achieve this, you will:
  • Prepare and execute contracts for recommended bidders
  • Ensure timely renewal of qualifying contracts and agreements
  • Execute contracts against set requirements and performance indicators
  1. Supplier Management
    The role will lead supplier relationships and performance to ensure that Suppliers adhere to Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and that there is precise record keeping. This includes: 
  • Maintaining suppliers’ files and documentation
  • Monitoring and documenting supplier performance
  1. Compliance and Ethics
    You will assist in identifying and analysing compliance risk in procurement processes and in implementing donor rules & regulations for all procurements by:
  • Implementing due diligence for suppliers, including by conducting reference checks, and supplier visits.
  • Providing consistent and constructive support to other departments to ensure compliance with policies and procedures.
  • Identifying and reporting procurement red flags across the procurement value chain.
  • Implementing corrective action plans (CAPs) in response to internal and/or external audit queries.
  1. Reporting
    You will support timely and accurate reporting by:
  • Preparing and submitting accurate monthly reports to the Programme Manager on time.
  • Supporting with developing and updating the procurement plans as required.
  • Submitting periodic procurement tracking reports for specific procurements assigned. 

Functional skills and knowledge (REQUIREMENTS):

  • Degree in Procurement, Supply Chain Management, Business Administration or Financial Accounting and related fields.
  • 3-4 years of work experience in supply chain operations (Procurement).
  • Experience working with NGOs is an asset.
  • Knowledge of donor procurement and accounting systems is an advantage.

Demonstrated Skills and Competencies:

  • Knowledge of generic procurement procedures and practices.
  • Good collaborator with effective interpersonal and analytical skills who work seamlessly across cultures, organisational units and suppliers.
  • Knowledge and experience in procurement plans, strategies, market analysis techniques, procurement and contracting.
  • Good negotiation skills.
  • Excellent skills in conducting market analysis and sourcing strategies.
  • Ability to work effectively in a matrixed structure 
  • Knowledge of USAID reporting requirements and standards is a plus.

Standards of Professional Conduct:

CIPESA staff and partners must adhere to the values and principles outlined in the Code of Conduct, Equal Opportunity Policy, and Safeguarding against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Sexual Harassment (SEAH) Policy. In accordance with these CIPESA operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Harassment-Free Workplace, Fiscal Integrity, Anti-Retaliation, and several others.

Application Process: 

Kindly send applications to  [email protected]  latest September 12, 2023 at 18:00 East African Time (EAST), including a cover letter outlining how you fit the job requirements and your areas of expertise; a CV; names and contacts of three referees and the salary expectations.