MOBILE and fixed operators in Zimbabwe have invested $40 million in network expansion and fibre optic infrastructure investments for the first half of the year, a government official has said.
In his mid-term fiscal policy statement, Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa said the developments in the Information and Communication Technology sector during the first half of the year show significant investments in network expansion and fibre optic infrastructure.
“A total of $40 million has been invested into the sector by mobile and fixed operators, as well as Internet service providers, in this period,” Chinamasa said.
He said as a result the mobile subscription have increased to 13,9 million subscribers at the end of June 2014 from 13,6 million last year. While the use of Internet data services rose to 43,1% over the same period, with data and internet subscribers growing by 2,9% to reach 5,6 million from 5,4 million.
In the period under review fixed telephone subscribers increased by 7,2% to reach 326 183 subscribers at the end of June 2014, compared to 307 202 subscribers recorded in December 2013.
However, Chinamasa said in line with experiences of advanced and growing economies such as China, India and Brazil, the future of Zimbabwe’s economic progress will also be dependent on the adoption and adaptation of domestic production structures to more modern technological systems and processes.
“Hence, expenditure on Research and Development across various sectors cannot be over-emphasised.
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“This is more-so as empirical evidence indicates that a 10% increase in research and development translates to about 0,7 to 1% growth in output,” he said.
“Therefore, in pursuit of this objective and also in line with our commitment to meet the United Nations recommended minimum expenditure thresholds of 1% of Gross Domestic Product on research and development, the government will continue to work closely with the private sector on financing and promoting research and development.”