Source: ICT helped mitigate effects of Covid-19 | The Herald (Local News)
The Government has committed to ensuring that all citizens, including those in marginalised communities, have access to information communication technology (ICT) as connectivity has become an indispensable necessity for all.
Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate World Telecommunication and Information Society Day yesterday, ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said the Covid-19 pandemic had shown the world how connectivity was important as ICT applications became the centre stage for mitigating the pandemic’s negative impact.
“This is the reason why the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has come up with this noble theme of empowering Least Developed Countries (LDCs) through Information Communication Technologies (ICTs),” he said.
“This also serves to demonstrate the importance of ICTs in fostering and facilitating the uplifting of countries from poverty to prosperity. Any individual or country that is left behind on the connectivity bandwagon can never be able to catch up. They will remain behind and sink deeper in the abyss of poverty and exclusion.”
According to ITU statistics, 5,3 billion people around the world were connected to the Internet in 2022, with most of them only enjoying basic connectivity, whilst 2,7 billion people remain unconnected.
One-third of the unconnected people were in the other LDCs whilst the remaining majority two-thirds are in developing countries like Zimbabwe.
“This is why as a Ministry we are promoting universal access across the country through the construction of Community Information Centres (CICs) in all provinces where marginalised members of our communities can access ICT services,” said Minister Muswere.
“We have also embarked on an aggressive E-Learning programme which aims at distributing computers and other ICT gadgets, as well as providing Internet connectivity to schools in Zimbabwe to enhance e-learning activities.”
Minister Muswere said ICT had the potential to reduce poverty, improve access to health and education, and create new sources of income and employment for the poor.
“Being able to access and use ICTs has become a major factor in driving competitiveness, economic growth and social development,” he said.
“We must not only settle for “smart” societies, but aspire for societies that are also “wise”, where technology works for the poor and the vulnerable.”