The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD), aimed at enhancing access and usage of information and communications technologies (ICTs) among persons with disabilities.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, ZICTA Acting Director General, Patrick Mutimushi, said the Authority observed that Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) faced a number of challenges in accessing and using ICTs, a situation he said was against the objective of ensuring equal and unfettered access to ICT services.
Mr Mutimushi noted that in today’s world, coupled with the global impact of ICTs across all sectors, no one should be excluded from using mobile phones, the internet, televisions, computers, electronic kiosks and their myriad of applications and services including in education, political life, and cultural activities or for e-government or e-health.
He added that being excluded from these ICT enabled applications implied being shut down not only from the information society, but also from accessing essential public services as well as opportunity of living an independent life.
“It is against this background that the Authority would like to work closely with your organisation in ensuring that PwDs are no longer marginalised, hence the need for us to enter into this Memorandum of Understanding”, Mr Mutimushi added.
Mr Mutimushi emphasised that ensuring accessible ICTs for PwDs and expanding access to these technologies, as well as to assistive technologies, was a key element of global, regional and national strategies to remove the remaining barriers faced by persons with disabilities.
And ZAPD Board Chairperson, Julien Mwape, described the signing ceremony as an exciting moment for PwDs taking into account challenges her people have been facing in accessing communication.
Ms Mwape acknowledged the collaboration with ZICTA as a significant step forward in advancing access to ICTs for PwDs.
She stressed the need for equal access of ICTs and other key aspects of life if PwDs are to contribute meaningfully to development, adding that communication was critical in this regard.
The MoU seek to enhance collaboration between the two organisations on key focus areas by way creating a platform where issues and challenges around provision of communication services to PwDs will be raised and efforts to resolve them initiated, as well as encourage the design of accessible ICT products and services among others.