Zimbabwe’s Government Takes ICT Seriously

Computing

Government has met stakeholders in the information communication technology industry to map the way forward for coordinated policies and discuss a proposed national strategic framework.

In his opening remarks the Minister of Information Communication Technology Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday said Government took ICT very seriously as the driver of national image.

"The Government has always been aware of the need and impact of information and communication technologies and hence decided to dedicate a whole Ministry to ICTs with the view of exploiting its potential and positive impact on the national economic development agenda," he said.

The ministry presented a 25 project plan for the first 100 days that include infrastructure audit, Develop a National Communications Infrastructure Master Plan, Review the ICT Policy Framework of 2007 to critically address convergence issues, Develop ICT Bill after consultations with the stakeholders and various others.

Minister Chamisa said the inclusiveness of the Government should not end or be for the politicians only hence the decision to engage stakeholders in designing the strategic framework.

"If information is power, communication is authority, and the ministry is aimed at establishing a vibrant ICT sector," he said. The ministry's key activities include the development and management of a nationwide infrastructure that is comprehensive, expansive and reliable, the mobilisation of resources and establishment of smart partnerships for ICTs development programmes and Promoting ICT literacy, awareness and advocacy.

Minister Chamisa said Zimbabwe needs to strategically position itself to a level where it lands best advantages to enable fast evaluations to the level of developed countries.

"Countries like India and Malaysia are the best starting point (baseline study), over a period of less than 30 years they have fully and effectively exploited the potential of ICTs and attracted considerable investment for the benefit of their national economies," he said.

Due to current financial constraints, said Minister Chamisa, the ministry was now exploring possible business partnership to enable the implementation of some critical ICT programmes. "The suitable partners in the ICT arena include: local stakeholders, large international ICT companies, Foreign embassies in Zimbabwe and Non Governmental Organisations, Civil Society and Multilateral organisations e.g. IMF, World Bank ABD etc," said Chamisa.

At the meeting, the ICT sector has commended the move by the Ministry to recognise business stakeholders as partners and encouraged the introduction of retention allowances for ICT experts. The players encouraged the ministry to advocate the reduction of red tape so as to increase response efficiency to requests on development matters in the country.

The Herald