Zimbabweans should embrace new technologies and artificial intelligence to create employment and improve development and economic growth, Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has said.
Minister Mandiwanzira said every Zimbabwean must be connected to achieve national and personal growth hence the need for people to embrace ICTs.
He was speaking at the World Telecommunications and Information Society Day celebrations in Murewa yesterday, where he also officially opened the Murewa community information centre (CIC).
He said government has created a base for people to be connected to ICTs through the CICs and more was being done to ensure everyone is connected to the information super highway.
"We officially opened a CIC here. Yesterday l was in Parliament when honourable Themba Mliswa said that the last time we (talked about) CICs was when (former president) Mugabe was in office. I told him that we don't play to the gallery and we don't do work for television. Since the coming in of President Emmerson Mnangagwa we have done 60 centres under 100 days," Minister Mandiwanzira said.
The CICs help communities access information on a number of things including health, agriculture, mining and education.
He said: "We need to bring people in rural areas on the information super highway. It is for the good of researchers, for those in schools, those in agriculture, those in mining, education and several other sectors."
He encouraged schools to prioritise investment in ICTs.
"We see schools investing in buses that travel once a week or a month. We advise that before investing in buses, invest in computer laboratories that help our children and their future."
"Parents should however, not be burdened. As government we have a plan to have computers for all and have our children connected. We have that program as government under the leadership of President Mnangagwa."
So far, NetOne has been given $71 million to construct more than 120 boosters in remote areas.
Potraz, director general Dr Gift Machengete said the focus across the board is on artificial intelligence.
"It's the ability of machines and computers to learn from data trends and humans. It is part of an ecosystem of emerging technologies like big data. We will continue connecting the unconnected. We remain aware of the ICT sector to do more in providing connectivity and universalising broadband," Dr Machengete said.
The government e-learning program provided 100 laptops to various schools in the area to enhance connectivity
Minister Mandiwanzira also urged Zimbabweans to embrace mobile money and avoid bank queues.
In a speech read on behalf of International Telecommunication Union ( ITU) secretary general Houlin Zhao, ITU Sadc representative Chali Tumelo ITU said: "We focus on the importance of artificial intelligence in enhancing the achievement of UN sustainable development goals by 2030. Emerging technologies have assisted in improving lives by improving healthcare, finance and other issues."
Mashonaland East Minister of State David Musabayana said ICTs are key enablers for economic growth and development.