Zimbabwe: Govt to Create Conducive ICT Development Environment

Business Reporter

Government is seized with creating a conducive environment for robust information and communication technology (ICT) development and innovation as efforts to enhance local solutions while cutting on imports.

ICT, POSTAL and Courier Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere, said this would also be ideal in saving the much needed foreign currency.

He said innovative ideas in ICT helped boost productivity as the country pushes to become an upper middle income economy by 2030.

"Government, through my Ministry will promote industry by developing policies that promote innovations rather than stifle growth," he said during a virtual 4IR Infrastructure and Innovation Summit hosted by Global Renaissance Investment (GRI).

He added the fast changing landscape has shown access to ICT was no longer a luxury but a basic need necessary in keeping businesses and societies connected. As such, no one should be left behind.

"The Government, therefore, is committed to creating an enabling environment for innovation to flourish in the country by providing a forward looking and adaptable policy environment.

"The thrust to promote innovation should therefore be intensified. We should equally prioritize research and development in order to keep abreast with ICT technological advancements," he said.

In line with this, Dr Muswere said several interventions were already being implemented to enhance ICT development and its impact for instance mobile infrastructure roll out and optimisation to increase network coverage, data centre services expansion, optimisation of optic fibre backbone network, internet gateway upgrade and deployment of computers to schools especially in marginalised areas and internet connectivity.

The summit ran under the theme "Unlocking 4IR Infrastructure to Yield the Vision 2030."

GRI chief executive officer Ngoni Dzirutwe who was also moderator at the summit stirred debate around barriers to innovations, infrastructure sharing as well as incentives for local innovators.

Zimbabwe ICT chairman Engineer Jacob Mutisi highlighted the importance of websites for local schools to enable them to easily connect and create links with others from advanced economies for possible exchange programmes.

"It is easy for a school in Germany to visit their Zimbabwean counterparts and interact after connecting on digital platforms," he said.

Cassava Smartech chief technology officer Eugine Chaduka also highlighted the role of innovation as key to boosting productivity, competitiveness and overall quality of service.

Despite the potential it has to enhance productivity, the poor collaboration between private and public sector stifles innovation coupled with the legal framework.

"We can come up with incentives towards 4IR. Government can offer incentives such as tax holidays for innovators," he said.

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