Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology has submitted a report of the Poverty and Information Technologies in Urban and Rural East Africa (PICTURE-Africa) project.

PICTURE-Africa was a three year, multi-country, multi-disciplinary and multi-method research project being conducted in four countries in Eastern Africa, namely Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.  The project received approval from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). It officially ended in June 2011 but in Tanzania there were still some left over funds from the Experiment Study which enabled some post project research activities to be carried out in Njombe and Makambako in 2013.

Speaking during the occasion to hand over the report to Njombe and Makambako Small and Medium Entrepreneurs, COSTECH Acting Director General Dr. Dugushilu Mafunda said the Regional Report concludes that the analysis of the casual link between ICT and poverty reduction indicates that there was a small but positive Information and Communication Technologies benefit to the very poor group compared to the poor group.

COSTECH Acting Director General Dr Dugushilu Mafunda speaks during the occasion to finalize the Picture Africa Research Project held at the FDC Hall in Njombe.With him are Njombe Regional Commissioner Dr.  Rehema Nchimbi (2nd R), Njombe District Commissioner Ms Sara Dumba(1st left) and  representative of the Njombe RAS Mr.  Noah Lameck.

“This is evident in the rates observed over the range of percentile levels (confirmed, once again, the ‘poor nature’ of the entire sample and more importantly the role of ICT in helping the very poor). The availability of mobile phones in particular is therefore a potentially valuable tool to improve the livelihood of the very poor over the medium term (6-10 years)” He said.  He further pointed out that Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) was established to coordinate and promote Science, Technology and innovation in the country. “In achieving some of its roles in this project, COSTECH has also been able to successfully transfer Information and Communication technologies to the Njombe and Makambako Small and Medium Enterprises.”He noted.

Referring how PICTURE-Africa improved business of Njombe and Makambako SME’S through uses of Information and Communication Technologies, Dr. Mafunda said,” that is what it means for COSTECH to spearhead Science, Technology and Innovation to solve different challenges in the Society.”
Chief Researcher in that Project Prof Ophelia Mascarenhas says PICTURE-Africa Project was designed to provide empirical evidence of the relationship between ICT access and economic growth/poverty reduction.

She said the overall objective of PICTURE Africa including the Experiment Study was to provide credible evidence on the impact of ICTs on growth and poverty reduction in order to persuade policy-makers to better understand the role and practice of ICTs in poverty reduction strategies and plans. She said the report has given empirical evidence to show how ICTs impact on poverty levels at the household level.

Mr. Mawazo Mikimbugi is a Shopkeeper in Njombe region and a beneficiary of the Picture Africa Research Project. He says his business has been well improved by The Picture Africa Research Project.  “I used to travel to Dar es Salaam with a burden of cost and disturbances of staying in the Guest House before being given training by Picture Africa Researchers. With the proper application of Information and Communication Technologies; I am now very comfortable and confident.”He says.

He also explains that he has managed to create his own network of business people in Dar es Salaam to facilitate the whole process just through the ICT. It doesn’t cost him much now days.