Zimbabwe’s Cabinet Approves National ICT Strategy Plan, Blueprint

Computing

Cabinet has approved the newly-crafted national information communication technology strategy plan and the ICT blueprint is expected be launched at the end of next month.

Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa said the plan would be formally presented to principals of the country's main political parties -- President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara before it is unveiled to the public.

"The plan has been approved by Cabinet and will run from now to 2015. It is either going to be launched at the end of this month or February when the principals are back," said Minister Chamisa.

He said the plan would revolutionalise the local ICT facet and spur the growth momentum attained since the beginning of last year. The ICT plan, said Minister Chamisa, addresses issues of licencing, number portability, infrastructure, mobile phone security, digital security, e-governance, e-education and e-health as well as the overall growth trajectory for the ICT sector.

In addition, the strategy plan provides for the establishment of an interministerial consultative body that would advise the ICT Minister. The decision to formulate a national ICT strategy plan followed the realisation that the country only had an ICT policy, which had been overtaken by events due to dynamism of ICTs.

As such, there was need to review the ICT policy and also devise an implementation matrix to bridge the technology gap between Zimbabwe and other countries doing better in this regard. "We were very much behind other countries on the continent and the world, but we are certainly catching up to overtake them".

Minister Chamisa said the objective was to ensure Zimbabwe does not only fully embrace ICT as a basic modern day technology, but becomes a hub of ICT software and hardware development.

There has been notable progress in the country's ICT sector since the beginning of last year, the most notable progress having been the improved accessibility of a range of mobile phone and Internet service and the installation of related infrastructure.

For instance, mobile phone service accessibility stood at 10 percent at the beginning of last year, but is now estimated at 24 percent. However, considerable challenges have been encountered in accessibility of fixed telecommunications where the sole provider of the services, Tel-One, has not been able to match demand.

The Herald