By NQOBANI NDLOVU
ICT minister Jenfan Muswere yesterday called on the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) to promote innovation and prioritize research if the country is to keep abreast with ICT technological advancements.
Muswere made the remarks during the official launch of the 2020 Hackathon held in Bulawayo where he indicated that the event dovetailed into the government’s National Development Strategy (NDS1), which is underpinned by human capital development and innovation.
“It is important to note that innovation is not only an explicit focus of Goal 9 (of Sustainable Development Goals) which focuses on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation, but is also a key enabler of most, if not all, of the Goals,” Muswere said.
“For example, science, technology and innovation will play an essential role in achieving Goal 2 which focuses on ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. I cannot, therefore, overemphasise the importance of developing an innovation culture in the country, as a prerequisite for the attainment of the SDGs.”
The 2020 Hackathon event is running under the theme: Hacking for SDGs Post-COVID-19 and Beyond and is seeking out local innovations that will help overcome challenges brought about by the global health pandemic.
Potraz director-general Gift Machengete, speaking at the same event, said the ICT innovation drive “is aimed at identifying, supporting and capacitating ICT innovators in the country, in order to develop their ideas into bankable solutions for Zimbabwe and the global market.”
The second edition of Hackathon saw teams competing in proffering the most relevant ICT solutions to solve post COVID-19 socio-economic challenges that may hinder the country’s efforts towards attaining SDGs by 2030.
The inaugural event held in February was only open to universities and not ordinary Zimbabweans.