Bridging the digital divide through promoting Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) will spear-head the country’s industrial revolution, Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services, Kazembe Kazembe has said.
Speaking at the belated World Telecommunication and Information Society Day in Mupandawana, Gutu today, the Minister said information technologies have become an integral economic driver, and as such should be universal.
“It is up to us to ensure that the current wave of industrial revolution does not leave us behind. It is up to us to ensure that the digital divide is bridged and that the future is smart- smart agriculture, smart health, smart cities and smart communities,”
“It is against this background that the government of Zimbabwe has placed digitalization of the new national economy, and therefore ICTs, right at the center of the delivery matrix for Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030,” said the minister.
The Minister’s sentiments resonate with this year’s theme, “Bridging the Standardization Gap”, a challenge spreading across most developing countries.
Speaking at the same event, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), Director General, Gift Machengete reiterated the importance of bridging the standardization gap by bring on board marginalized communities into ICTs.
“It is vital that the needs of a diverse range of people including the most vulnerable, guide the design and development of telecommunication standardization. Those who are furthest behind in terms of social and economic development are at the center of the SDGs and hence, need to be at the center of development of telecommunication standardization,” Machengete said.
World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, is an annual event celebrated globally on the 17th of May.
The day celebrates research and recommended standards and protocols relating to voice and data transmissions over landline and mobile networks which include everything from streaming videos on cell phones to voice over calls to SMS international call rates.
The celebrations become symbolic to the Zimbabwean context of intermittent network connection in some remote areas, high cost of data against receding earnings, and weak internet signal.
POTRAZ has been doing awareness campaigns in marginalized parts of the country with the hope to understand challenges users of telecommunication products are facing such as network coverage and internet penetration among other issues.
Meanwhile, Minister Kazembe officially opened a Community Information Centre and went on to donate 20 laptops and four multipurpose printers to schools around Mupandawana.