Zimbabwe

‘ICTs to anchor growth’

President Mnangagwa chats with Rwandan President Paul Kagame (on TV screen), the chairman of Smart Africa Alliance, during a virtual board meeting at State House in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Tawanda Mudimu

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter

Zimbabwe will continue adopting information communication technologies (ICTs) to facilitate economic development and transformation, President Mnangagwa told the 9th Smart Africa virtual board meeting yesterday.

This comes as the country takes the lead in developing ICTs for agriculture across the continent.

Smart Africa is a partnership between 31 countries to accelerate socio-economic development through the use of ICTs and better access to broadband services, with Zimbabwe joining this year.

President Mnangagwa said Smart Africa must be used to realise socio-economic integration and intra-Africa trade as envisaged in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

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Zimbabwe was streamlining ICTs as an enabler for socio-economic development.

“To fully exploit the immense potential of ICTs, inclusive guidelines continue to be developed, deployed and managed for national development and transformation.

“Key among these is Smart Zimbabwe 2030 Master Plan, which permeates through integrated sector specific pillars. This will see Smart Solutions being deployed to achieve Smart Government, Smart Agriculture, Smart Cities, Smart Education, Smart Transport and Smart Health,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said the Government was working with the private sector, universities and colleges for the development and adoption of ICTs towards the attainment of Vision 2030.

“Riding on the opportunities presented by the stressing Covid-19 pandemic, concrete innovations, inventions and penetration of ICTs have been witnessed across the entire economic spectrum in our country.

“As a continent, we must allocate more resources for the development and manufacturing of ICT solutions and gadgets,” he said.

Zimbabwe was chosen to work with Smart Africa and other stakeholders to develop the Smart Agriculture blueprint, a move that will guide the development of national e-agriculture strategies within member states.

“In the case of Zimbabwe, an e-agriculture strategy is being developed to lay the roadmap for the use of ICT to achieve the country’s agricultural vision and national development objectives.

“In addition, we are developing the Agriculture Information Management System and other related applications to monitor and manage agricultural activities. Comprehensive software has been launched, re-classifying our ecological zones in response to climate change as well as to inform policy and farming practices,” he said.

In his remarks, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who chairs Smart Africa, said Covid-19 had shown the importance of ICTs.

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“The pandemic has shown that ICTs connectivity is not a luxury, but a necessity. Going forward the provision of health and education will depend on digital platforms,” he said.

The meeting was attended by Heads of State and Government and officials from the African Union, African Development Bank, World Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and development partners.

HERALD