Farirai Machivenyika, Senior Reporter
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday launched the country’s Information Communication Technology policy to guide Zimbabwe’s economic development through a coordinated use of ICTs.
The ICT policy, together with the Innovation Drive, a policy to provide funding to young innovators were launched at the Harare International Conference Centre at a ceremony attended by ICT and Cyber Security Minister Supa Mandiwanzira and several senior Government officials.
“This policy will undoubtedly provide strategic direction and guidance for sustainable national economic development through systematic and coordinated application of ICT’s,” he said.
“The ICT policy is thus aimed at transformation, growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, innovation and partnerships in the mainstream economy and puts in place institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks in order to achieve its intended goals. It is therefore envisaged that all sectors of the economy and society at large will harness the power of ICT’s for the development of our nation.”
President Mnangagwa commended players in the ICT’s sector for their advances that have seen the penetration rate rise to 95 percent and a geographical coverage of 75 percent.
“Furthermore, 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 this policy will go a long way towards making information technology revolution, the basis for ultimately transforming Zimbabwe into an e-society,” he said.
The President added that Government was making great strides through investments in ICT backbone infrastructure, ICT education, research and development, the expansion of Community Information Centres, as well as ICT governance and training of Government officials in ICT usage.
“My Government remains committed to speeding up the implementation of e-governance which will enhance communication and services between Government to Government; Government and business; Government and citizens; Government to employee as well as the back office process to smoothen interactions within the entire Government machinery,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said e-government would ensure services are available to citizens in a convenient, efficient and transparent manner and help in eradicating poverty through automated systems which remove bureaucratic bottlenecks.
“I further challenge our Government ministries and departments to spruce up their web sites to make them more interactive, responsive and reflective of the current impetus under the new dispensation.
“Let us all in our image, actions and service culture reflect that it is a new era and, ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business,” President Mnangagwa added.
He said Government would continue supporting use of ICT in areas such as education, agriculture, tourism among others.
“I challenge those in the education sector to also deploy ICT’s to advance and inculcate national identity, values and ethos as well as in defence of our national interests and cultural heritage.
“In the same vein we must always be alert to the need to protect the young and vulnerable from the vices associated with ICT’s and the threat of cyber crimes.”
Meanwhile, Minister Mandiwanzira donated 200 computers to President Mnangagwa to hand over to any schools of his choice to promote use of ICT’s in the education sector.