Zimbabwe: ICT Masterplan to Guide Industrialisation

22 February 2021

Zimbabwe's implementation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will be guided by the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 masterplan initiated last year, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Jenfan Muswere has said.

4IR is the latest stage of the industrial revolution, which is technology-driven. In this regard, technological innovation is expected to lead to significant supply-side growth, with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity.

Minister Muswere said the Smart Zimbabwe strategy document, the country's new ICT masterplan, will provide guidance regarding the specific innovations that Zimbabwe's industries will utilise in the digital future.

"The level of utilisation of 4IR technologies is not currently widespread in Zimbabwe. However, there could be potential applications to various sectors of the economy, causing disruptions in industries across the country.

"To systematically exploit the potential of ICTs for national development and transformation, Zimbabwe has developed an all-inclusive, focused and forward-thinking guideline that clearly articulates how the country will develop, deploy and manage ICTs across all sectors, the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 Master Plan," he said.

The ICT Minister was addressing the 4IR virtual conference hosted by Global Renaissance Investments (GRI) yesterday.

"The Smart Zimbabwe 2030 Master Plan works through key specific sector-focused integrated pillars that act as smart solutions and these include: smart government, smart cities, smart agriculture, smart education, smart transport, smart health, smart tourism, and smart mining, among others.

"These pillars are anchored on a strong foundation or common platforms which are: policy, regulation and standards; secure and shared Infrastructure; partnerships, skills, capacity building and content development; and confidence and security of networks and services."

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has caused immense business and economic disruptions, it has also accelerated the 4IR in several ways, with even some local businesses quickly shifting to offering products and services virtually.

However, a significant number of local firms continue to be laggards.

Added Minister Muswere: "As the country moves towards becoming an Upper middle-income society by 2030, we need to adopt a completely new approach and exploit the potential of ICTs by developing appropriate and cost-effective applications that can improve the country's productivity and competitiveness.

"Internet of Things and drone technologies are expected to be central to the future of agriculture. 3D printing is expected to transform manufacturing.

Automation of jobs due to artificial intelligence and robotics will also cause tectonic transformations in the Zimbabwe labour market. Blockchain technology will increasingly find applications in the financial markets and even international trade."

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