26 February 2008

Zimbabwe: Govt Seeks to Enhance ICT Policy Framework

Harare — Government will continue to seek the development of knowledge-based economy and society through the creation of an enabling and legislative policy framework for the information and communication technology sector, the director of policy development in the Ministry of Science and Technology, has said.

Speaking at a workshop organised by Microsoft and Zimbabwe Academic Research Network on new changes in technology and business practices last week Ms Scholastica Madzinga said Government was aware of the need to enhance Zimbabwe's knowledge base in information technology as ICTs were the driving force to development the world over. The workshop, running under the theme "Africa Practice", was meant to come up with African solutions to African problems in the light of recent development in information technology. "The national vision is to increase knowledge of ICTs among our citizens as these now form the base for future development. As a result Government will continue to create an enabling environment for their development.

"The ICT policy framework launched last year is clear testimony of our commitment to understand and promote computer-based education. I am happy that the ICT sector is also aware of the support from Government and that the support goes to the top," she said. This, she said, saw President Robert Mugabe taking centre stage in promoting computer education in schools and tertiary institutions in the country by donating hundreds of computers.

Ms Madzinga also commended the synergies that exist between public and private sector in the area of information and communication technologies. Microsoft representative for West and East Africa Mr Nicol Woodard stressed the importance of involving everyone in tackling challenges that are brought about by the ICTs on the continent. "The ICT sector demands that we involve everyone in the game. We can not afford to leave out any mind in the development of information technology. "As Microsoft we are prepared to work with all minds in improving and expanding inter-operability so that it can be easy for users of our products to access documents created in whatever format," he said. Last year the Ministry of Science and Technology launched the ICT policy framework that is expected to guide the development of the sector in the country.

The framework also seeks to increase the participation of marginalised communities that have been left out by past colonial policies that focused on development in urban areas.

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