Ocean & Coastal Management 48 (2005) 85–95
Evolution of information and communication
technologyin Tanzania and its impact on ocean
data and information management
Desiderius C.P. Masalu
Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Dar Es Salaam, P.O. Box 668, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Efforts to modernize information technologyin Tanzania started as earlyas 1965 when the
ﬁrst computer in the countrywas installed in the ministryof ﬁnance. Unfortunately, these
efforts were hampered byseveral problems that included the lack of qualiﬁed indigenous
personnel and uncoordinated planning. The problems were verybad experiences to the
government, and as a reaction to that in 1974 the government banned the importation of
computers and all related equipment (accessories and peripheries) into Tanzania. This severe
decision of the government has had a great negative impact on the development of
information technologyand computer literacyin all fronts including ocean data and
information management in Tanzania. However, the situation has greatlymuch improved
recentlyfollowing various efforts bythe government and the donor communityto remedythe
situation. Even though, the effects of the 1974 government decision are still noticeable. The
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO in collaboration with the
Flanders Government have played a key role in the improvement and structuring of ocean
data and information management in Tanzania through Ocean Data and Information
Network for Africa (ODINAFRICA) project. These efforts include capacitybuilding in both
human resources and infrastructure, creating/increasing awareness among stakeholders and
scientists on the need of having a sound data and information management system in the
country, and helping Tanzania to establish a National Oceanographic Data Centre (NODC).
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