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Addressing the Gender Digital Divide in Zambia

Presented by: Francisca Kabaso Women and Mobile Course

INTRODUCTION: THE COUNTRY CONTEXT INTRODUCTION • Zambia is a landlocked country located in the subsaharan Africa, sharing boundaries with Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. • The country has a total population of 15,473,905 as at 2015. • The country is currently operating under its Seventh National Development Plan (ZNDP) which highlightes Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a catalyst for socio-economic development as well as an enabler of good governance. • Amongst the key things that the Government has prioritised is the development of appropriate laws, policies and regulations to support the provision of electronic services and to promote private sector/citizen confidence and participation.


• According to the International Telecommunications Union in its 2017 ICT Development Index, Zambia was ranked 146 from 149 in 2016. • ICT Statistics for the last three years continue to show an increase with mobile penetration currently at 79% and mobile penetration rate at 43.57% as at Q3 of 2017. • However, there still remains a gap with regard to up to date reliable disaggregated data on the percentage of men and women with access to a phone or the internet.

Further, although the 7NDP places ICT as a driver of development, there is no emphasis on placing women involvement as a major priority. However, even with the lack of adequate Information, it is evident that the majority of women who are in rural areas have no access to internet.

• Dissaggregated data is only available every two years when the ICT regulator undertakes the National ICT survey. • Without up to date information, it is difficult to establish the extent of the gender divide and to design interventions aimed at addressing women in particular.


A CALL TO ACTION •Need for the finalisation of a national broadband policy •Development of a National Policy that specifically addressed the needs of women and girls in ICTs •Funding allocation from Central government for interventions that promote access to internet for women •Upgrade of existing infrastructure especially in rural areas to allow for the provision of affordable and accessible internet

KEY STAKEHOLDERS • Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) As the key policy maker, MTC needs to intensify efforts on finalising the National Broadband Policy and spearhead the formulation of a National policy that prioritises women and girls in ICTs Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) As ICT regulator, ZICTA needs to upscale its efforts in the roll out of telecommunications infrastructure in underserved and unserved rural areas through the Universal Service and Access Fund. ZICTA should seek to engage the mobile network operators to offer cheaper sim starter packs for women or any other incentives that will promote women’s access to mobile phones and internet. • Ministry of Gender Collaborate with MTC and ZICTA; and spearhead interventions aimed at promoting women and girls in ICTs • Mobile Network Operators Upgrade service provision in rural areas by providing 3G and 4G internet which is mostly in urban areas. Consider promoting access to a mobile phones for women. •

Zambia Revenue Authority To consider making revision to the excise duty on airtime.


• Positive strides are being made by the government to increase access to ICTs for citizens, however, there is need to prioritise the design and implementation of interventions that are aimed at ensuring access and affordable internet for women. All relevant stakeholders need to come on board and work together to narrow the gender digital divide.

REFERENCES • Central Statistical Office (2015). Zambia Demographic and Health Survey 2013 -14 • ZICTA ICT Sector report for 2017 • Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) • • •

Bridging the gender digital divide in Zambia  
Bridging the gender digital divide in Zambia  

A final project on addressing issues of the gender digital divide in Zambia