Embrace ICTs, Zimbabwe urged

HARARE – Zimbabwe has been advised to embrace information communication technologies (ICTs) to effectively compete in the 21st century global market.

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Stakeholders in the local industry say Zimbabwe’s sustainable economic development programme can only succeed by placing ICTs at the core of the development agenda.

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Late adopters of technology have been classified as the “laggards”.

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This social group is not only afraid of technological innovations, but treats new technology with suspicion and is keen on preserving the status quo.

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For laggards, technology is a source of destruction as it renders people jobless.

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According to Engineer Sam Kundishora, government should take the lead in the adoption of ICTs in improving service delivery.

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However, there is need for the ordinary Zimbabweans to also complement government initiatives by being techno-savvy.

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Manual systems have tended to increase the cost of doing business and are susceptible to corruption.

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For Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Commissioner General Gershom Pasi, adopting ICTs will not only improve efficiency, but is critical in improving the attractiveness of the local industry.

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Zimbabwe should learn from other countries in the region and across the globe where ICTs have been instrumental in economic growth.

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Among other benefits, ICTs have the potential to enhance competitiveness, as well as economic and societal modernisation due to its revolutionary power.

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By adopting new technologies, Zimbabwe will be able to connect communities, improve standards of living and create new business opportunities.

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Meanwhile, glaring evidence of minimal investment in ICTs is witnessed in long queues at the country’s border posts, hustles in acquiring passports, cumbersome company registration and inaccurate weather information.

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The World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness report 2013-14 ranked Zimbabwe at 131 out of 148 countries owing to the high cost of doing business and cumbersome processes in starting a business.

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The Zimbabwean story has been compounded by inefficiencies at some of the key service providers and government departments.

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The Zimbabwean citizenry continues to be subjected to traditional ways of doing business at a time almost the whole world has harnessed ICTs as a catalyst of economic growth.

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The story of the local industry whose capacity utilisation stands at less than 40 percent has been made worse due to the antiquated machinery.

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The unit cost of production has remained high compared to the region as a result of the failure to invest in latest technologies.

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The obtaining research gap and lack of relevant information on the local market has created more problems as there are no informed investment decisions.

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Close to a decade since the discovery of diamonds in Marange, the country is still to carry out a comprehensive geological survey to qualify and quantify the extent of the mineral resource.

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The information asymmetry in most of the key sectors has negatively impacted on the efforts to increase foreign direct investment.