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Zimbabwe sets stage for internet revolution: Chamisa
20/04/2010 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
Revolution ... ICT minister Nelson Chamisa
 
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ZIMBABWE is on the verge of becoming an “information tiger of the continent”, Information Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa said Tuesday following the commencement of the laying of an optic fibre link connecting Zimbabwe to the Beira under-sea cable.

“This is life changing. By the end of the year, there will be a drastic improvement in internet speed in this country and Zimbabweans will be able to send and receive high volumes of video, data and voice; access 3G and 4G because of the increased bandwidth ... we’re going to be the highway of all communications, we are changing the complexion of communication,” Chamisa told New Zimbabwe.com in an interview.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti released $6,2 million for the project last Friday, and Chamisa says the optic fibre link through Mutare should be completed by the end of the year.

Currently, Zimbabwe uses satellite for its internet which is very expensive, and slow. “Right now,” Chamisa said, “if you open a web page, the water will boil before it can download.”

He added: “There is an optic fibre link between Plumtree and Bulawayo which is not yet completed. By the end of this project, we would have created the arteries and veins of communication from Gwanda to Rusape, making the whole country a seamless kingdom of communication.

“The master-plan is being rolled out. We have contracted TelOne to lay the optic fibre line and the first target is to link the major cities by the end of the year.

“Our strategy is that by 2015, we should be an information society.”

The minister said Zimbabwe was “geographically located to be the hub because we have what it takes -- smart people, good intellect and solid education base.”

“When this project is complete, we would have brought joy to the people of Zimbabwe,” the minister said. “From a business point of view, we have to leverage our intellectual capacity as a people.

“We should be getting the outsourced work being done by India for the UK for instance, we should be leveraging our time zone and our geographical location and we must get profit from our weakness of just being good.

“We should be the information tiger of the continent in terms of ICT. We need to be the Silicon Valley of the African continent.”

Cheap and accessible internet will have an “unbelievable impact”, the minister said, “with Zimbabweans able to apply for birth certificates, view their school results and get prescriptions online.



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“We’ll see a boom in e-commerce and online transactions. Broadband is coming, from Tsholotsho to Chirundu people will be empowered to explore all manner of online businesses which they have so far been unable to do because we were lagging behind.”


 
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