(Ecofin Agency) - Digital transformation is one of the main axes of Zambia’s 2030 socio-economic development strategy. To achieve its goals, the country wants to digitalize all the services offered to the population.
The Zambian government and telecom operators have reached an agreement to cancel scratch cards by June 2023. Subscribers will have to purchase airtime only through digital channels.
“This milestone resolution will enable the Zambian populace to purchase airtime in an easier, instantaneous, safe and seamless process. This was evidenced during the Covid-19 pandemic when we saw a spike in the usage and purchase of electronic airtime as opposed to physical scratch cards,” said Chief Government Spokesperson Chushi Kasanda.
The three telecom operators active in Zambia - Airtel, MTN and ZAMTEL - will now begin implementing initiatives to restrict airtime scratch cards. At the same time, the government will organize awareness campaigns to educate the public on the merits of this decision.
This initiative is part of the Zambian government's efforts to improve access to digital technologies amid an accelerated digital transformation. Furthermore, digital and innovation are among the pillars of Zambia's 8th National Development Program (2022-2026). The said program aims to achieve "Vision 2030" which aims to make Zambia "a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030".
"I believe this decision to phase out the use of airtime recharge cards is a step in the right direction as it will contribute to environmental protection, support financial inclusion, tax collection and enhance the use of digital services as well as promote the establishment of a digital economy in Zambia," said Minister of Technology and Science Felix Mutati.
Isaac K. Kassouwi