By Garikai Tunhira
COMMUNITY information centres (CICs) play a pivotal role in connecting both urban and rural communities, thereby bridging the digital divide that has been in existence.
Speaking at the opening of Mashava CIC in Masvingo province yesterday, Information Communication Technology (ICT) minister Jenfan Muswere said the centres were an integral part of that drive as they enable communities to access information communication technology services at affordable rates.
“My ministry will, therefore, continue to roll out programmes aimed at ensuring that the rural communities are kept abreast of technological development, especially now when we all need to be kept informed of the different aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“CICs play a crucial role in ensuring that more Zimbabweans are kept informed of the pandemic and have access to other ICT services during this pandemic. We, however, need to ensure that we observe all the COVID-19 hygienic requirements as we make use of the facilities at the CICs.”
Muswere said government remained committed to attaining a digital economy and knowledge society, and as such would continue to provide an enabling environment for the growth of the ICT sector.
He added that the implementation of the national ICT policy had led to internet subscriptions increasing to 8,7 million as of December last year.
Muswere implored communities to develop local content as digital inclusion grows, adding this would help with identity purposes. He donated 50 computers to five schools in the province, with each of them getting 10.
Speaking at the same event, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe director-general Gift Machengete said the world was experiencing tremendous digital transformations, and Zimbabwe would not be left behind.
“The CIC concept is to create centres where the community can access and use ICTs to promote their businesses, advance their education and improve their livelihood,” Machengete said.
“CICs are, therefore, crucial in empowering our communities. Moreso now when the nation is grappling with the debilitating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and is in need of platforms to access accurate information about the deadly coronavirus.”
Mashava is the third CIC to be launched in the province after Chikato and Gutu.
Potraz has also launched three containerised village information centres, which are Maranga, Rutenga and Buffalo Range.