The National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy and Strategy
Ethiopia’s ICT policy is one of the fundamental components of the country’s socio-economic development goals and objectives. In order to pave the way for a transition towards a knowledge-based economy, three foundational elements are essential for underpinning all other aspects of the policy:
- ICT Infrastructure: This critical foundation is the backbone for increasing the penetration and access to affordable ICT services across all regions in Ethiopia.
- ICT Human Capital: This involves developing human capital both in terms of skilled ICT professionals who will be able to sustain and grow the sector and digital literacy across the whole population so that citizens can use ICT effectively.
- ICT Legal and Regulatory Environment: This is essential for ensuring orderly adaptation to rapid technological evolution, protecting the safety and security of consumers and providing an enabling setting for the ICT sector to grow.
To implement the three foundations of ICT policy, desired outcomes and targets, objectives as well as strategies are articulated below.
With the foundation in place, Ethiopia will be in a better position to exploit the potential of ICT in the country's key social sectors, boost ICT-related industries and leverage ICT to promote progress in cross cutting areas. The following key sectors, industries and cross cutting issues constitute the pillars of this policy and are intended to highlight and guide the use of ICT in the transformation of Ethiopian economy and society:
- ICT industries including Manufacturing and Computer and related services
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation
- Youth and Women
The first pillar, the application of ICT in government and more specifically e-Government is an effective way of improving public service delivery to citizens as well as substantially improving the ease of doing business for enterprises. In recognition of this, the Government of Ethiopia developed and implemented an e-Government Strategy between 2011 and 2015. This strategy resulted in the implementation of 168 services on the national portal. In addition, WoredaNet, the government network connecting federal and state agencies and Woredas, connects around one thousand institutions.
The eGovernment Goal aims to modernize the public sector, in order to achieve efficient and effective delivery of public services, through the implementation and utilization of e-Government systems.
The existence of a cohesive and well-functioning institutional framework is essential for effective policy implementation and the attainment of all the objectives of this policy.
The following stakeholders play important roles in the development of the ICT sector and it is proposed that representatives from each will be part of a National ICT Council (NICTC) to help guide implementation of the policy:
- Development Partners;
- Civil Society;
- Service Providers;
- Private Sector;
- ICT Professional Bodies.
The implementation of this policy entails the need for coordination with all agencies and ministries as well as regional governments within Ethiopia. The policy further calls for continuous benchmarking and collaboration with international development partners and the private sector in meeting the country’s development programs. It is expected that each ministry will align the use of ICT in their strategic plans to meet the policy goals laid out in this policy document.