Minister of Transport and Communication, Brian Mushimba and Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming toured the new Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority ZICTA national data centre this week to learn how the facility will modernise the country’s electronic systems and bring development across the country.
The national data centre was built by Huawei Technologies as part of the National ICT Development Project – Smart Zambia Phase 1 project, the signing of the loan agreement for which was witnessed by President Edger Lungu and Chinese President Xi Jinping during President Lungu’s state visit to China in March 2015. The project is being funded through a concessional loan from the Chinese government through the Export-Import Bank of China, which has brought about the establishment of three National Data Centres and ICT Talent Development.
“This is part of the infrastructure that you require before you can start building on it and start seeing the full benefits of the smarting of Zambia that we have been talking about. So, in those fronts I am happy that Huawei and the Chinese government as partner to this government to make sure that we are delivering on the promise and the vision of the President of Zambia to start making Zambia more efficient and more productive by adopting more technology in what we do every day,” said Mr Mushimba.
He was speaking during the tour the data centre at the ZICTA head office in the company of Chinese Ambassador Mr Yang Youming, Huawei Technologies Zambia Managing Director Spawn Fan, ZICTA Director General Margaret Mudenda, Ministry of Transport and Communication officials, along with Chinese Embassy and Huawei Zambia officials.
“The Smart Zambia Phase 1 is a very key project to start talking about Smart Zambia Phase 2, because you need to do the basics first. And the basics we are talking about now is the training institution. We have one of the best training institutions in the region, the ICT Centre of Excellence in Ndola. And the training programmes that are going to be offered there, will accelerate the understanding and uptake of the ICT, and the internet that we are going to build the e-governance and e-services upon,” said Mr Mushimba.
Ambassador Yang Youming, who played a key role in securing the project, expressed happiness at the high-quality works carried out by Huawei.
“I’m happy that in less than two years, this project is completed and I ready to provide services. I’m very happy with the quality of this project, and I think that Huawei has provided the latest technology to the country, compared with other countries. You will not lose any age in terms of technologies,” said Mr Yang Youming.
“It will serve as a power-house for the development of telecommunication industry in this country, because nowadays, the telecommunication industry is so important to every country in terms of providing services to the development in all areas, in all sectors,” he added.
The Ambassador further said that the Chinese government will work together with the Zambian government in driving the development of the country’s telecommunications sector. “We will continue to provide our assistance and lend whatever in order to push forward the cooperation in this sector.”
The national data centre facility will be used by the government to provide hosting services to the Zambian government and private institutions, and is expected to help reduce ICT expenditure in the country where internet access is limited among the population due to high prices. The centre has the capacity to store 3 pegabytes of data, equivalent to 3 million high-definition movies.
(Source: Langmead & Baker)