Promoting Development in Zimbabwe through Information Communication Technology
In collaboration with the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services as well as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), UNDP launched the inaugural Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) Policy and Practice Dialogue Platform in Zimbabwe.
It’s timing is very significant. Following the lapse of the 2012-2015 Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF), the UN and the Government will soon engage in the development of a new ZUNDAF. Therefore, the proposed policy and practice platform could play a very strategic role making key recommendations around ICTs for the new programme cycle.
The forum will promote a collaborative partnership between government, private sector, ICT industry, stakeholders, business community, development Partners, youth and academia. This partnership is meant to leverage ICT as a potential driver of economic growth, a tool for promoting business competitiveness, and an industry that contributes significantly to GDP, said minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Mr Webster Shamu.
Describing the platform as a “necessary first step towards embedding and consolidating the use of ICTs to tackle developmental challenges” the minister called for joint action in ICT4D initiatives.
“It is Government’s hope that our people are enabled to access and use ICTs to address the challenges that they face, understanding that ICTs offer opportunities for increased well-being and sustainable socio-economic development in all sectors.”
Speaking at the same forum, UNDP Country Director, Ms Verity Nyagah said the UN recognizes the potential that ICTs have in enabling the attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and reducing poverty levels around the world. “For that reason, we rally behind the Government in championing for the development of ICT infrastructure in the country.”
“We perceive technologies as vehicles for delivering services, catalysing economic growth, facilitating the ease of doing business and accelerating the overall attainment of MDGs” stated the Country Director adding that ICTs are not alien to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “On the contrary they are an integral part of the Millennium Agenda as reflected in MDG 8, target 18, which calls on bringing access to ICTs for all.”
Echoing similar remarks, ITU Area Representative for Southern Africa, Mrs Charlie Tumelo said that through ZUNDAF, the ITU has continued to engage with the UN Partners and the government to advance the ICT4D agenda in Zimbabwe.
“The ITU activities are clustered under the Population and Basic Social Services (PBSS) thematic group and include supporting the Government to introduce telemedicine and e-mobile technologies in the delivery of health services in Zimbabwe as well as contributing to ICTs in the education sector under the connect a school, connect a community initiatives.”
The event, supported by the UNDP Innovation Facility was also addressed by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services engineer Kundishora, UNDP dialogue advisor Mr William Tsuma and Mr Gudza, president of the Computer Society of Zimbabwe. It culminated in the formal launch of the ICT for Development Platform by minister Shamu.
A follow up consultation and exhibition of ICT contribution to the Zimbabwe Economy is planned as the next dialogue session by the platform.