THE Government remains committed to the attainment of a digital economy and continues to create an enabling environment for growth of the telecommunications sector in line with the National Development strategy (NDS1).
A total of $8 billion will be invested in the sector during this year, mainly targeting roll out of the optic fibre network, digital television services and access to online public services by citizens.
In an interview, Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said the Government has collaborated with private sector to expedite the development of an inclusive digital economy by setting up digital hubs in rural and marginalised communities.
“Government has adopted the national development strategy1, one of the key priorities is to ensure that the country remains a digital economy.
“Our key obligation is to ensure that there is deployment of ICT infrastructure in the rural areas, this is supported by infrastructure sharing which will be accelerated. In 2021 we are going to deploy more bases stations in rural areas under the POTRAZ universal services fund,” he said.
The Government is also looking at improving the country’s ranking on the ICT development index. As of 2017, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ICT Development index(IDI) report, ranked the country at 136 out of 176 and this was mainly due to the limited access to ICT services and high bandwidth costs.
Knowledge in the use of ICTs is now seen as a basic need and an essential skill for human survival, hence Government’s decision to take the necessary steps to facilitate research and development, through establishment of CICs as a way of motivating the development of home grown solutions to the socio-economic challenges Zimbabwe is facing.
An ICT innovation drive has since been launched with the objective of promoting a culture of ICT innovation and development among youths.
Online services that had been launched include the Deeds Office, Companies and Intellectual Property Rights, where name search and back end processes have been automated whilst for the Liquor Licensing Board, applications are now being received and approved online.
Import and export licensing processes are now also being done electronically.