Liberalisation of the International Gateway and Internet Development in Zambia: The Genesis, Opportunities, Challenges, and Future Directions

02/21/2021
by   Aaron Zimba, et al.
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Telecommunication reforms in Zambia and the subsequent liberalisation of the international gateway was perceived as one of the means of promoting social and economic growth in both the urban and rural areas of the country. The outcome of this undertaking propelled the rapid development of Internet which has evidently brought about unprecedented paradigm shifts in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). It is indisputable that ICTs, and the Internet in particular, have revolutionalised the way we communicate today. Furthermore, the penetration of ICTs to other spheres of our daily lives is evidence enough that the impacts thereof go beyond mere communicative facets of our lives. However, many challenges arose in the implementation of telecommunications reforms. In order to achieve the status quo, government had to make strategic liberalisation policies in the telecoms sector that saw the opening up of the international communication gateways to the private sector. This is in tandem with the fact that the relationship between government (through its formulation of policies and regulations) and other stakeholders determines the ability of a country to generate and use advanced knowledge for industrial competitiveness. As such, in this paper, we present the genesis and evaluate the impacts associated with the telecommunications reforms and the subsequent liberalisation of international communication gateways, and Internet development in Zambia. We further consider the challenges this has brought about and discuss possible future directions. This is helpful in forecasting the future landscape of the ICT sector considering that the country seeks to achieve universal coverage of both Internet and communication facilities to all Zambians across the country.

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