Digital economy anchors NDS1 benefits

Jenfan Muswere
Spread the love

THE country must embrace the National Development Strategy (NDS1) which emphasises the digital economy as one of the 14 national priorities for the period 2021 to 2025, Minister of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), Postal and Courier Services Dr Jenfan Muswere has said.

Speaking at the launch of 10 Community Information Centres (CICs) Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) in the Harare Metropolitan province yesterday Dr Muswere said the economic blueprint was anchored on a digitally enabled economy as the National Key Results Area for outcomes leading to improved access and usage of ICTs.

The CICs were opened at post offices in Amby, Causeway, Mt Pleasant, Emerald Hill, Mabelreign, Belvedere, Kambuzuma, Highfield, Glen Norah and Glen View.

He said the inclusion of the digital economy in the economic blueprint bears testimony to Government’s commitment to take advantage of ICTs and other emerging technologies to transform the lives of the general populace in the country.

“This is indeed an important milestone as it complements Governments efforts towards attainment of the National Development Strategy One (NDS1) and of course Vision 2030,” Dr Muswere said.

“With the launch of Community Information Centres in Harare Province, Government is reaffirming its commitment to the attainment of a digital economy and a knowledge society for all Zimbabweans. Access to ICTs and effective participation in the digital economy remains critical in improving the quality of life for all the people of Zimbabwe, those in cities and towns and those in rural areas alike.

“I would like to highlight, at this juncture, that growth in the ICT sector can only be achieved when we have a large pool of qualified personnel in the different spheres of the ICT industry. It is important therefore, that the right skills and competencies must be in place at all levels.”

Dr Muswere called upon the youths countrywide to take up studies in different disciplines in the ICT sector and to make use of CICs.

He said digital inclusion can only thrive where the community can identify themselves with the available digital content.

“Digital inclusion is therefore, dependent on the availability of content in local languages and dialects. I cannot over-emphasise the need for the development of local content if Community Information Centres are to make the desired impact among the local communities.

“If properly developed and marketed, such content can also create employment for the local communities. I therefore, call upon all communities to start identifying local content that could be digitised and be made available through the internet for the benefit of local communities.”

POTRAZ director-general Dr Gift Machengete said the Authority was moving with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) theme of “Leaving No One and No Place Behind”, which has been adopted and adapted into the NDS1.

“One such project, which is leaving no one and no place behind is the Community Information Centre project. While I admit that we are more visible in rural areas due to the existing rural-urban divide, we are cognisant of the need for Internet access and use programs in cities and towns too, hence the setting up of CICs in Harare and other urban parts of the country as we promote inclusivity and equality.

“This is because the importance of CICs to everyone in the country cannot be understated. CICs enable communities to access the Internet and participate in the digital economy.”

Dr Machengete said CICs also promote human capital development and innovation through free computer skills training as well as research which will be conducted at the centres.

He said the centres were a source of economic emancipation as community members including women and youth get to use the internet to market their products and services, which enhances their capacity to do business. – Herald