Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi last week challenged the country to speed up the expansion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), as an essential measure for digital inclusion, the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
“Aware that digital inclusion contributes to the development of both women and men, the country has the challenge of expanding the use of ICTs, with a focus on rural areas through internet access, the availability of electricity, computers, and cell phones and training of women and girls to handle them”, said the president.
Nyusi was speaking in Maputo, during the ceremonies marking Mozambican Women’s Day, taking place under the slogan “Digital Inclusion, Innovation and Technology for the Promotion of Gender Equality.”
Nyusi highlighted the benefits of digital inclusion during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Covid-19 pandemic, showed how beneficial digital inclusion can be for the training and empowerment of populations especially women and girls”, the president noted.
According to Nyusi, despite the progress made in digital inclusion, which has increased the productivity and success of women in social, economic, academic and cultural areas, there are still a large number of women and girls without access to ICTs.
Nyusi cited data from the 2017 census, indicating that only 22.4 percent of women and 30.8 percent of men own a cell phone and 5.3 percent of women and 10 percent of men have access to the Internet.
“Regarding the use of mobile financial services, only 9.5 percent of women and 14.5 percent of men have access”, he said.
Women, he said, are engaged in institutions of power and decision-making, as well as professions that were once dominated by men, “but despite these advances, challenges persist in the field of digital inclusion.”
Speaking to reporters, former President Joaquim Chissano agreed with Nyusi and declared that digital inclusion is an essential factor for women’s empowerment.
“No one should be excluded from the digital reality”, he said. “We must make efforts so that we all develop, so that all women have access to technology”.
When questioned about the difficult access to the Internet in Mozambique, the former President remarked “not even Rome was built in a single day. In a society, it takes the necessary time for things to happen.”
For her part, Nyelete Mondlane, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, argued that the main ingredient for women’s empowerment lies in the retention of girls at school, in an environment of dignified coexistence with the family and the community.
“The family and the community should help girls remain in school until the final stage of their studies, until they choose their professional destiny”, she said.