Digital economy a priority — Minister

Dr Jenfan Muswere

Government is expediting the development of an inclusive digital economy by setting up digital hubs in rural and marginalised communities to foster innovation and develop new business activities.

This was said by Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere while officially commissioning a new containerised village information centre (CVIC) at Manoti Business Centre in the Midlands over the weekend.

The Manoti CVIC is one of the 24 that have been set-up in eight provinces.

“As we walk towards Vision 2030, as we are bridging the rural-urban divide, the President is committed to the attainment of a digital economy,” he said.

“The coverage that we have achieved thus far has transformed the lives of people in unprecedented ways. Knowledge in the use of ICTs is now a basic need and an essential skill for productivity.

“Research and development in the use of ICTs is key, and in this respect the Government has taken the necessary steps to facilitate research and development through the establishment of these Community Information Centres in order to motivate the development of home-grown solutions to our socio-economic challenges.”

Dr Muswere urged locals to make full use of the CVIC.

Government has made significant strides in enhancing the country’s internet penetration levels, which have increased from around one percent in 2008 to 57 percent.

But Dr Muswere cautioned against the increasing dangers of online platforms.

He said Government was nearing the promulgation of the requisite laws to protect citizens from cybercrimes.

“The scale and urgency of cybersecurity should not be underestimated,” he said.

“As we make use of ICTs, we create enormous pools of data about ourselves, generating digital footprints that can be used and analysed by third parties without our knowledge.

“Children’s digital footprints can be misused for harassment, bullying or identity theft. To make matters worse, children’s online behaviour is shaped by the illusion of being safe in the online playground.

“As we deploy ICTs across the country, it is imperative that the safety and security of users is guaranteed.

“To that end, my ministry is pleased to note that the enactment of the Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill is now at an advanced stage.”

Speaking at the same event, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) director-general Dr Gift Machengete said 146 Community Information Centres (CICs) had been established countrywide.

“Of these 107 are already operational,” he said.

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