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DAR ES SALAAM, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The government of Tanzania and the World Bank on Tuesday reaffirmed their commitment to supporting women in accessing and using digital technologies.

"Together, we can break down barriers and build a more inclusive and equitable future for women in technology in Tanzania," said Nape Nnauye, the minister of Information, Communication and Information Technology, at a one-day Tanzania Women and Technology Conference in Dar es Salaam held ahead of International Women's Day.

International Women's Day is marked globally on March 8 as a focal point in the women's rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.

Nnauye said his ministry has, starting the 2023/2024 financial year, planned to start the provision of short- and long-term training of up to master's degree level to 450 ICT professionals employed in government, mostly women.

He disclosed the ministry is in the final stages of developing a National Digital Economy Strategy that sets out strategies for a period of 10 years to ensure a digital society while fully thriving to eliminate ICT-related gender inequalities.

Nnauye said the tech industry still has a significant gender gap, with women underrepresented in leadership roles and the workforce as a whole despite the fact that females in Tanzania are the majority of citizens as was revealed in the 2022 population census.

He said that statistics by the Tanzania ICT Commission showed that there were 1,011 male registered ICT professionals and only 170 female registered ICT professionals. "Despite the increase in the use of ICT in many countries of the globe, women and youth participation remain low, especially in developing countries like Tanzania," said Nnauye.

Nathan Belete, the World Bank's country director for Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, said the bank was financing the Digital Tanzania Project, which it hoped to be an important driver for ensuring that more Tanzanian women are engaged in the digital ecosystem.

Belete said it is noteworthy that there is currently a good deal of activity and efforts underway to improve the participation of women in ICT in Tanzania. "Equally, however, there is much that could and should be done." - Xinhua

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