Jabiri Kuwe Bakari, current Director General of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, is our UDSM’s ‘Alumnus of the Month’. He belongs to the University’s graduating class of 1996 in the-then Faculty of Science. The University had previously inaugurated a department of Informatics and Communication Technology (ICT) to train the young brains who would keep pace with world developments in the 21st Century and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in connection with a ‘massive’ convergence of technologies in the physical, digital and biological domains that were bound to alter the way people live, work and relate to one another. Bakari was one of the very few of a ‘science’ student intake into which the University was investing resources and hopes in the intensive training for the new age of computer and ICT, following a year (in 1992/93) of the introduction of the key digital elements such as the e-mail. Bakari was among those few earliest students of the dawning ICT age in Tanzania.
He was born on 14th May 1970 in Korogwe district in Tanga region. At the age of seven, in 1978, he began school at Manundu primary school, in Korogwe, from where he proceeded with six years of secondary education at Pugu Secondary school for both O-Level (1985–1988) and A-Level (1989–1991). For a year between 1991 and 1992, he attended a compulsory paramilitary training course at Mafinga National Service Camp in Iringa which, for him, was combined with six months of voluntary teaching of Mathematics and Physics at Mgololo Secondary School, also in Iringa. Being good in Mathematics and Physics, Jabiri was, in 1993, admitted for a three-year degree programme in Computer Science at the University of Dar es Salaam. He was one of the few bright students who successfully completed the programme, earning a B.Sc. (Hons)in 1996. Immediately upon graduating, he was engaged by the University’s Computing Centre which, in turn, was keen to back him up with functional training courses such as ‘Essential Unix System Administration’ organised at Centro DeInformatica at Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique (1996), ‘Project Management’ at Damelin Management School in South Africa (1997), as well as related advanced Unix and Damelin courses in Tanzania and South Africa in 1998. He was subsequently appointed head of the Service Control Department at the Computing Centre.
It was in 1998 that Jabiri Bakari got a two-year postgraduate scholarship for an M.Sc. (Engineering) at Sheffield University in the U.K.(1998-1999), specialising in data communication. With this qualification and a rich background of additional professional knowledge and practice in Tanzania and outside locations (e.g. Japan, Austria, etc.), he had an advantage in gaining a further opportunity for PhD study in Sweden from 2003 to 2007. He finally obtained his PhD in the field of computer and systems sciences. Upon return from doctoral studies in Sweden, Dr. Bakari worked for about three months (June-September 2007) as Deputy Managing Director of the Computing Centre, in charge of finance, administration as well as ICT services.
As one of the highly sought-after trained ICT specialists, he was subsequently engaged by the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) as Director of its Institute of Educational Technology (from November 2007 to March, 2012), from where, in turn, he received appointment from the Tanzania Government in April 2012to become the founder CEO [Chief Executive Officer] of the e-Government Agency newly established in the President Office and concerned with public service management. Eight years later, in July 2020, he was appointed Director General for e-Government with the change of status of the department from an ‘agency’ to an ‘authority’. Dr. Bakari worked in this senior leadership position till March, 2021, when he was appointed by the President’s Office to become Director General of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA). He has since then been serving in this capacity.Not withstanding the load of work he is shouldering, Kuwe continues to research and write in this vital area of global ICT developments and challenges. He has to his credit over 70 works in the area of computer science and engineering. A few of the published journal articles, research reports and conference presentations include:
• ‘Effective exploitation of ICT to improve management and delivery of Open and Distance Learning: A case study of the Open University of Tanzania’ (with T.S. Mbwette, T.S, in 2010). In P.A. Ifeanyi and F.K.Olakulehin (Eds), Global Perspectives in Open and distance Learning: Essays in Honour of Professor OlugbemiroJegede, Lagos: Franco-Ola, pg 379 – 402, ISBN 987-987-085-591-8
• ‘Using ICT as an instrument for enhancing performance and quality in HEIs management and operations: The Open University of Tanzania’. Proceedings of 3rd ACDE Conference and General Assembly (with Tolly.S.A. Mbwette, 2011, Dar Es Salaam);
• ‘Operationalisation of ICT security policy, services and mechanisms in an organisation’. (with C. Magnusson, L. Yngström& C. N. Tarimo, 2007), in Proceedings of the IST-Africa International Conference, 2007, Joaquim Chissano International Conference Centre, Maputo.
He has made a clear contribution to ICT development in Tanzania and retrospectively at the University of Dar es Salaam. The University is highly appreciative of his contribution.