The success in the fight against Covid 19 lies on the power of Information Communication Technology (ICT), ICT Minister Jenfan Muswere has said.
He made the remarks yesterday while comemorating World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) running under the theme Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) .
“In these trying times, many lives have been lost, businesses disrupted with all kinds of social restrictions being imposed. Ladies and Gentlemen, it would be remiss of the global community, if the role of ICTs in the ongoing fight against COVID- 19 were to go without due acknowledgement and recognition.
“With ICTs, we have seen business continuity in particular, for the services sector, where physical presence is not necessary such as banking and commerce and even education, which have gone online. E- Meetings, including international ones are happening online as evidenced by Heads of States who are having Virtual Summits on ICT platforms. Families and friends are able to keep in touch while maintaining the tenets of a global lockdown; responders are enabled in their indispensable, life-saving work. Thanks to ICTs,” he said.
He added, “We are vesting our confidence in the power of ICTs as part of our arsenal to win the war against the pandemic. Indeed, ICTs are the magic wand that will help nations address and contain the spread of the virus.”
Meanwhile, as part of efforts to fight the pandemic government is mobilising operators in the setting up of a call centre and providing a toll free number, 2019, for any COVID-19 related emergencies. Government has also assigned operators with additional 3G and LTE spectrum for free, up to December 2020 to enable them to increase capacity of their data offering.
Ladies and gentlemen, I find solace in that this year`s theme reiterates the importance of ICTs in sustaining our lives and development in general. I cherish the opportunity presented by this occasion for me to reflect on the importance of universal connectivity to broadband and the progress made thus far towards ensuring universal broadband connectivity. More importantly we need to reflect on how we have lined up our resources, in particular ICTs, in the enablement, assembly and mechanisms for the achievement of SDGs.
The country has since registered significant progress in terms of access to ICTs evidenced by the extent of network population coverage, by 2G,3G and LTE networks currently standing at 93.4%, 83.9% and 35% respectively.