Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
The United Nations has hailed Zimbabwe’s successes in the information communication technology (ICT) sector, adding that the continent could draw some lessons.
This was said by UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) executive secretary Dr Vera Songwe yesterday after meeting President Mnangagwa at State House ahead of UNECA’s sixth global conference on sustainable development goals.
Victoria Falls will host the indaba from February 24 to 27.
“I think Zimbabwe, for us, represents some of the successes of the continent and some of the expectations of the continent,” she said.
“Of course, you have a good, rising ICT sector where the continent can learn a lot from what you are doing.”
She noted that Zimbabwe was facing challenges due to climate change, which could be addressed through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
AfCFTA, a continent-wide market of 1,2 billion people worth US$2,5 trillion, is expected to transform the economies of many countries through increased trade.
Said Dr Songwe: “But you also have challenges in climate change and I think the consequences of climate change will be disturbing. His Excellency (President Mnangagwa) said with energy, you have gone from 1 000MW to 100MW and of course that will affect the economy — so how can we do more renewable energy, but more importantly maybe working at the regional level with the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement?
“We were talking about regional trade and so hopefully, regional power could help to address that issue.
“We talked about tourism and the fact that tourism has created jobs for our people and how we can manage tourism and jobs and that we cannot leave anyone behind, which is the message of the SDGs.”
On the Victoria Falls meeting, Dr Songwe said it was one of the biggest to be held in Africa.
“I think this is one of the biggest meetings that we have as UN in Africa. Essentially we bring together all of the UN family and all of the member States to talk about the SDGs,” she said.
“This is particularly important because it is the beginning. We have 10 years to get to 2030, it is also part of the slice of 2063, the ‘Africa we want’, the African Union Agenda 2063.
“It really brings everyone together to see what else we need to do to get there. We are very happy that the Government of Zimbabwe, with the support of His Excellency, the President, agreed to host the meeting here.
“We are going to bring about 2 000 people as the UN family to Zimbabwe to showcase the good things that Zimbabwe has, but also to look at some of the challenges such as unemployment and see how as a continent we can respond to that.”
Dr Songwe was accompanied by the UN resident coordinator Ms Maria do Valle Ribeiro.