By Staff Reporter
THE Covid-19 pandemic has made Zimbabwe realise that for the growth of the country, the use of broadband connectivity is no longer a luxury but a right, a cabinet minister has said.
Information Communication Technology (ICT) minister Jenfan Muswere said this during a Postal Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) strategy review workshop held in the eastern border city of Mutare recently.
He said the workshop was taking place when the world was grappling with the demands for technological solutions to mitigate the menace caused by the Covid-19 pandemic while at the same time ensuring broadband connectivity for all as people sought to work from home.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has made us realise that for the betterment of the generality of Zimbabweans, broadband connectivity is no longer a luxury but a right,” the minister said.
He added the deployment of ICT technologies alone without equipping users with requisite skills to operate the technologies will invariably not bring progress to the country.
Muswere urged POTRAZ to contribute to the achievement of the national key result area by intensifying training for ICT users.
“POTRAZ needs to contribute to the achievement of this national key result area by intensifying training of ICT users, giving special attention to the economically marginalised communities, farmers, women, and the youths as well as people with disabilities who need to use specialised ICT technologies,” he said.
The minister appreciated that POTRAZ was already offering training at some of the Community Information Centers (CICs) dotted across the country.
“For the forthcoming year, your programmes and activities should continue to include the provision of training in the use of ICTs at Community Information Centres,” said Muswere.
He said the ICT sector forms one of the major pillars in stimulating economic growth and development towards the achievement of Vision 2030.
“It is my considered view that the ICT sector forms one of the major pillars in stimulating economic growth and development towards the achievement of Vision 2030.
“Without a robust ICT sector, it follows that the dream of an all-inclusive and economically vibrant nation remains a pipe dream,” said Muswere.
He encouraged POTRAZ to work together with his ministry and other stakeholders in the ICT sector to ensure access to affordable ICTs to marginalised communities.
“It is the duty of POTRAZ, working together with the ministry and other stakeholders in the ICT sector, to ensure ubiquitous access to ICTs.
“Everyone everywhere must have access to affordable ICTs. This includes disadvantaged groups, such as people with disabilities, women, youths, and those residing in underserved localities,” said the Muswere.
“Access to ICT is, therefore, not a luxury and a preserve for the elite. At the same time, POTRAZ ought to vigorously steer the sector in the direction of emerging technologies. We need to catch up with technology, in particular, 5G, for which we need a road map and strategy or else we remain digital laggards,” he said.