EAC Secretary General DR Richard Sezibera

EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera has urged Microsoft to work with governments to further facilitate ICT adoption in East Africa.

Speaking at the launch of the Microsoft Office 2010 Kiswahili Local Language Pack in Arusha, Tanzania, Dr Sezibera lauded the software giant for taking a leading role in facilitating the adoption of ICTs in the region.

He commended Microsoft for recognizing the importance of Kiswahili language in communication and said: “Both Windows 7 and Office 2010 translations will go a long way in spurring growth of Kiswahili as a mode of communication in education, science and technology as well as government services”.

The Secretary General said there was urgent need for change, not only to maintain existing levels of education and training in the population, but also to develop new skills and competences required if East Africa is to remain competitive and grasp new opportunities. He added that the region acknowledges ICT as a driver of economic growth although literacy levels were influencing its use.

With over 5 million native speakers and more than 50 million Africans speaking Kiswahili on a daily basis, Kiswahili is the most widely understood language in Africa after Arabic. The EAC said the availability of Microsoft Office 2010 in Kiswahili is a remarkable step towards elimination of language as a barrier to technology access.

“The development of the information society and the wide-spread diffusion of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) give rise to new digital skills and competences that are necessary for employment, education and training, self-development and participation in society,” noted Amb. Sezibera.

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