“SMART ZAMBIA” TARGETS 100% MOBILE VOICE COVERAGE

The President of the Republic of Zambia Edgar Chagwa Lungu has said the signing of the FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT for Phase 2 of the Zambia Communications Towers Project is an actualization of the PF Government’s manifesto promise “to deliver communication and information technology infrastructure to all areas of the country.”

Through increased access to high quality information and communication technology, “we are delivering power to the people,” said the President.

“Information and the tools of communication constitute some of the most salient aspects of our humanity,” he said, and added that, “this power is meaningless unless it is devolved to the people, where it belongs.”

The President was speaking at an event held in Lusaka today, Friday 4th August, 2017, when he delivered a keynote address following the signing of a FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT between China and Zambia, for the Second Phase of The Zambia Communication Towers Project.

At the signing ceremony, SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY FREDSON YAMBA represented the Minister of Finance Felix Mutati and SIGNED ON BEHALF OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, while CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO ZAMBIA, YANG YOUMING, signed on behalf the world’s second biggest economy, China.

AND President Lungu has said the signing of the FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT demonstrates his administration’s unwavering resolve to accord every citizen “an opportunity to achieve social and economic freedom through enhanced access to information communication technology services.”

Mr. Lungu affirmed the Government’s commitment “to attain enhanced value-addition and a knowledge-based society” in line with the aspirations of the Smart-Zambia Programme and Vision 2030.

“On 21st June 2017, I launched the Seventh National Development Plan, which seeks to stimulate inclusive development, diversify the economy, create more jobs, generate wealth, and help reduce inequalities in our society,” he said, and further stated that, “AS HEAD OF STATE, I AM EAGER TO SEE TO IT THAT OUR CITIZENS BEGIN TO EXPERIENCE THE BENEFITS OF THIS PROJECT IMMEDIATELY.”

President Lungu said the project will among other things: create over 2000 jobs; provide connectivity for entrepreneurs who will now save time and costs by transacting online; and promote financial inclusion by capturing the unbanked population.

“This investment in mobile communication across the country will also improve e-commerce; tele-medicine; simplify compliance to government regulations and statutes; empower farmers with access to markets, and strengthen citizen participation by promoting transparency in transactions,” he said.

Mr. Lungu directed the Minister of Transport and Communications to ensure that competent Zambian contractors also participated in the project through sub-contracted works.

The President also directed all Ministries, Provinces and Government Agencies to utilize the investment by ensuring that all their outposts were covered “in order to achieve improved public service delivery and integrated development.”

Mr. Lungu appealed to the business community players involved in the supply of ICT equipment to work with the Government in helping to make ICT devices more affordable for all citizens.

“Let me take this opportunity to call upon all stakeholders comprising our cooperating partners and the private sector to partner with the Government in our pursuit to increase ICT literacy in our communities,” appealed the President.

Mr. Lungu stated that the massive investment in the Second Phase of The Zambia Communication Towers Project “is also part of the Government’s effort to recapitalize ZAMTEL and make it more competitive.”

In concluding his statement at the Signing Ceremony of the FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT for the Second Phase of the Zambia Communication Towers Project between the Government of the Republic of Zambia and The Peoples Republic of China, President Lungu said that his administration’s unwavering commitment to take this country to higher heights “WAS CLEAR.”

“Our resolve to foster socio-economic development in all corners of the country is the reason we continue to win the hearts and minds of the greater majority of our people. My Government will continue to walk the talk as prescribed in the PF Manifesto,” concluded the President as he took the opportunity to also bless all the people present at the event.
AND, CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO ZAMBIA YANG YOUMING has said once completed, the SECOND PHASE OF THE ZAMBIA COMMUNICATION TOWERS PROJECT will result in an increase of mobile voice service coverage to nearly 100% of Zambia from 70% and boost data service coverage from 5% to 40% of Zambia.

Mr. Youming says the signing of the FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT between his country and Zambia is within the framework of FOCAC and kick starts a significant stage in China-Zambia Cooperation.

“This project is funded by the Chinese Government through a concessional loan,” he said, and stated further that, “the project includes the construction of 808 [Eight Hundred & Eight] new communication towers and 1, 009 [One-thousand and nine] 2G/3G/4G wireless stations.”

“The voice service penetration will increase from 70% to nearly a 100% and data service penetration from 5% to 40%,” he affirmed.

The Chinese envoy further said that the second phase of the Zambia Communication Towers Project will effectively improve the investment environment in Zambia, create jobs, and provide a solid backbone for the social-economic development of the country, he said, and further stated that, “in the 7NDP, ICT has been identified as a critical catalyst for socio-economic development as well as an impetus of good governance.”

Mr. Youming was speaking immediately after signing the FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT for the Second Phase of The Zambia Communication Towers Project at a function held in Lusaka today, Friday 4th August, 2017, at which event Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba represented the Minister of Finance Felix Mutati and signed on behalf of Zambia.

MEANWHILE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSPORT BRIAN MUSHIMBA has said his Ministry is thrilled that mobile communication services will be extending “in order to attain maximum possible population coverage at ward level countrywide, primarily targeted at economically disadvantaged unserved and under-served areas.”

In the remarks before he called upon the President, Minister Mushimba referred to Zambia’s geographical spread as “a unique challenge in providing universal access to communication facilities.”

He stated that “phase 2 of the construction of communications towers targets dense clusters of settlements and economically active areas which include rural health centers, schools, farming blocks, small-scale ventures, mines, tourist establishments, economic sector cooperatives, and other remote trade and commerce entities.”

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