Zimbabwe govt’s ICT Ministry crafts 5-year strategic plan

Jenfan Muswere
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The Ministry of Information Communication Technologies, Postal and Courier services has completed the development of its five-year strategic plan, which will dovetail with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 Masterplan.

Government anticipates that the ICT sector will drive the Zimbabwean economy going forward.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the undeniable growing significance of the digital economy.

Said ICT Minister Jenfan Muswere:

“In pursuit of the National Development Strategy (2021-2025), the National Vision 2030 and the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 Master Plan, my Ministry has crafted its Strategic Plan for the period 2021 to 2023, which is hinged on four core values namely, transparency, professionalism, creativity and teamwork.”

“Creativity is therefore, at the centre of our aspirations at the Ministry as we persistently encourage and recognise innovation and inventiveness as key enablers for the digital economy.”

The development of the strategic plan comes at a time when innovation is expected to play an enhanced key role in Zimbabwe’s socio-economic development, with a particular focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to Minister Muswere, SDGs are a critical component of the Government’s Vision 2030 to be an upper-middle income by 2030.

Upper middle-income economies are those countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita between $4 046 and $12 535.

Zimbabwe’s new economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy (NDS1), is underpinned by Human Capital Development and Innovation as one of the 14 national priorities for the next five years.

“The ambitious nature of the 2030 agenda, which is aimed at, among others, ending poverty and reducing inequality in all its forms everywhere, to promote inclusive and sustainable consumption and production systems, to provide full and productive employment and decent work for all — will require fundamental changes in the ways in which energy, food, water, housing, welfare, health, mobility and other goods and services are manufactured, distributed, delivered, and consumed,” said Minister Muswere.

“The scale and ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals require innovation if the 2030 agenda is to be achieved. Indeed, to achieve these ambitious Goals, new modalities for development are required, including bringing innovation into the foreground of development projects.

“It is important to note that innovation is not only an explicit focus of Goal 9, which focuses on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation, but is also a key enabler of most, if not all, of the Goals.

“For example, science, technology and innovation will play an essential role in achieving Goal 2, which focuses on ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture.

“I cannot therefore, overemphasise the importance of developing an innovation culture in the country, as a prerequisite for the attainment of the SDGs.”

The ICT Minister was officiating at the official opening of the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz)’s second Hackathon in Bulawayo last week.

The second Hackathon was running under the theme:’ Hacking for SDGs post Covid-19 and beyond’.

Potraz adopted the Hackathon concept in line with the recommendations of the report prepared by the Zimbabwe delegation to the World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2019 (WSIS Forum 2019), and the success of the Zimbabwean team of students that participated in the Hackathon that was held during that event.

Unlike the inaugural Hackathon, which was limited to Universities, the second one was open to the generality of innovative Zimbabweans.

The second Hackathon included participants from Harare, Bulawayo, Chivhu, Kadoma and Masvingo.

Potraz director-general Dr Gift Machengete told participants that the competing innovators will proffer the most relevant ICT solutions to solve post Covid-19 socio-economic challenges that may hinder the country’s efforts towards attaining the SDGs by 2030.

“In view of the SDGs, we are proud to be rolling out this project because ICTs and Innovation are a major driver of development.

“New ICTs overcome the barriers of distance and time, and significantly improve the accessibility of information and knowledge. ICTs are also a key element in mitigating the impact of unforeseen events such as natural disasters and pandemics such as Covid-19,” said Dr Machengete.

“Furthermore, ICTs enhance the productivity of firms while increasing their overall efficiency, thus contributing to economic growth and development.”