MAPUTO, Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario says the constant and gradual expansion in the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) is one of the main challenges the country faces in the communications sector.

Speaking at the opening of the ICT Forum of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) here Monday, he called for a mass expansion in ICTs which would reach people living in the most remote parts of the country.

One of our challenges is to expand access by the communities in rural areas to information communication technologies, as well as to strengthen co-operation in matters of cyber-security. The technologies exist to benefit society, to promote rapid sharing of knowledge, to bring people together, and to facilitate financial and commercial transactions, he added.

Rosario argued that the various institutions working on ICTs should develop applications in Mozambican languages and at costs which make them increasingly accessible to the public. We must expand the number of beneficiaries from ICT, through promoting programmes that fight against digital illiteracy,” he said.

The expansion of access to ICT, he argued, would help save time, increase productivity and strengthen transparency in government actions. The development of online services requires us to bank on broadband facilities, exploiting modern fibre-optic and radio communications technologies, he said.

We are in an era when the world is a global village and is in constant evolution, where information and communication technologies have an important role in social organization and interaction, in governance actions, in the promotion of investments, and in financial transactions, all of which are important factors to drive the sustainable development of our countries.”

Transport and Communications Minister Carlos Mesquita said Mozambique was taking steps forward to guarantee greater security in the use of ICTs. We are making major advances in the use of ICTs in areas linked to legislation, he added.

CTO secretary general Shola Taylor warned that the digital future is irreversible but offered opportunities for growth to Commonwealth countries.

The forum, held under the theme, Digital Nations, Digital Wealth, continues until Friday. The CTO describes the Forum as the premier ICT conference of the Commonwealth, bringing together senior policymakers, regulators and industry leaders from across the Commonwealth and beyond who will gather to examine the most topical issues in the ICT sectors.