ICT an enabler to grow GDP: Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the information communication technology (ICT) sector must be viewed as an economic enabler towards the growth of the gross domestic product.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

Officially launching the Zimbabwe National Policy for ICT and the Zimbabwe Innovation drive in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa said all sectors in the economy should be moving towards e-platforms.

“ICT must be viewed as an economic enabler for the development and establishment of sector appropriate solutions with comprehensive breath, depth, flexibility and applicability. To this end, the importance of the policy will go a long way towards making the information technology revolution the basis for ultimately transforming Zimbabwe into an e-society,” he said.

“The ICT sector is also integral in the establishment of an environment that encourages a network of services and applications promoting e-commerce and trade for god and services, digital content, establishing e-government, education, online services, strengthening network security as well as building and developing an ICT resources base.”
The policy was approved by Cabinet on August 10, 2016 to cover a five-year period ending in 2020. Its objective is to achieve year on year ICT sector growth rate twice as high as the gross domestic product (GDP).

The policy will be emulating the format as prescribed by the World Bank whereby a 10% increase in broadband penetration causes a 1,38% contribution to the GDP.

Currently, the internet penetration rate is 95,6% with the policy seeking to increase it to over 100% by 2020. In the third quarter report for the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority Of Zimbabwe in 2017, the mobile penetration rate increased by 3,5% to reach 100,5%

The key policy objectives will be focused on transformation, growth, leadership in terms of being a leading ICT hub in Africa, inclusiveness, sustainability, and innovation and partnership.

ICT and Cyber Security minister Supa Mandiwanzira said properly harnessed ICT had the power to transform the economy into a digital powerhouse.

The Zimbabwe Innovation Drive is a government funding for ICT projects that for now will fund six commercially valued projects. Distribution of the funds will be in phases.

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