BUSINESS WRITER 4 March 2017
HARARE – Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technologies (ZICT) is
betting on government’s benevolence to grant it land that can be used to
set up an innovation hub in the country.
ZICT executive Daniel Rusike said his organisation has put forward a
request for 200 hectares of land to develop the country’s Silicon Valley
at the new town centre in Mount Hampden.
“Subsequently, this initial techno-hub will be a model for the development
of affiliated provincial innovation hubs. Furthermore, ZICT proposes the
use of the Private, Public Partnership (PPP) model for the development of
the Innovation Techno-hub,” he said.
Silicon Valley, in the southern San Francisco Bay Area of California,
United States, is home to many start-up and global technology companies.
Apple, Facebook and Google are among the most prominent. It’s also the
site of technology-focused institutions centred around Palo Alto’s
Rusike noted that in order for Zimbabwe to catch up in the innovation
ranking, there is need to invest and build up on factors such as human
capital and research and infrastructure, among other things.
“This would in turn result in improving the Innovation output side due to
evidence by a rise in technology exports,” he added.
This comes as Zimbabwe ranks very low at number 133 out of 145 countries
on the Global Innovation Index (GII) as reported in the 2015 Global
Innovation Index Report.
However, the country is not even ranked in the GII 2016 report.
Rusike said the reason for Zimbabwe’s unrated status was either due to
insufficient data to determining ranking, or the country’s performance was
“Extant research has shown the significant correlation between economic
growth and innovation in an economy,” he said.
“The basic understanding is that the causal effect of investment in
innovation promotes economic growth. The retro-causal relationship is also
true to a certain degree, that is, economic growth spurs innovation
activities as investments in research and development increase,” Rusike
Information gathered by the businessdaily shows that there is a strong
correlation between levels of innovation capital as a proportion of gross
domestic product, and absolute labour productivity growth. Accordingly,
Innovation Capital is an important driver of economic growth.
In most selected countries it contributes to a significant part of
business sector labour productivity growth.
On its part, the Zimbabwean government recently crafted a national ICT
Policy aimed at promoting and incentivise investment in high-tech and high
value-added manufacturing and business ICT services – through the
establishment of technology-park with special economic zone status.
“This policy shift intends to attract world-class investments in high-tech
manufacturing of mobile device manufacturing, chips, processors and
related accessories – to make Zimbabwe the regional hub for knowledge
intensive ICT manufacturing and service activities,” read part of the
country’s ICT policy statement.