Govt committed to growth of ICT



INFORMATION Communication and Technology (ICT) minister Kazembe Kazembe yesterday said the country was employing a litany of initiatives to create and promote an enabling environment for internet connectivity and the telecommunications sector in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ICT access for all by 2030.

Addressing global ICT leaders during the World Summit on Information Society 2019 hosted by the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva, Switzerland, Kazembe said even if some of the infrastructure was destroyed by the Cyclone Idai, Zimbabwe has done a lot to let ICTs get to the ordinary person on the ground.

Government through the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has ensured that the ravaged infrastructure in both Chipinge and Chimanimani was restored.

Kazembe said government has been, for some time, taking measures that entrench every citizens’ right to information, education and freedom of communication.

“The second was a wholesale review of the national ICT policy, thereby modernising it to include all the “Es”, including e-education, e-agriculture, e-health and e-Government to mention a few,” he said.

“The third was to co-operate with the country’s neighbours and be part of the Southern African Development Community’s protocols on development and these cover ICTs. A good example of this, is the roaming project that the region is working on. The programmes help in reducing costs.”

Kazembe added: “The fourth was to encourage the country’s operators to invest in sub-marine cables, hence a number of the operators have shares in regional sub marine cables, which goes a long way in managing the costs and making ICT services affordable.”

He said government through his ministry has been training people in marginalised communities in order to make them receptive to ICT products for their own benefit.

Potraz director-general Gift Machengete said although Zimbabwe was committed to attaining the SDG goals by 2030, developing countries need support to mobilise funds for ICT and energy infrastructure, research and development, content development, capacity building, accelerated ICT access and use to enable the attainment of SDGs.

“SDG 9c on access to ICTs for all by 2030 will remain a pipe dream if certain fundamental aspects are not attended to, especially in developing countries. Landlocked developing countries appeal to the world for capacitation to accelerate the provision of an enabling environment.”

Zimbabwe has been making efforts to bridge the digital divide and has been working closely with the International Telecommunications Union, which has also donated satellite phones to assist victims of Cyclone Idai.

The Zimbabwean delegation also includes ICT ministry secretary Samuel Kundishora and Potraz head of consumer affairs and publicity, George Manyaya.