e-TECH AFRICA conference and exhibition official opening speech by PM

Minister of ICT, Hon. Nelson Chamisa

Government Ministers here present

Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Senior Government officials here present,

Secretary for ICT, Eng. S.M. Kundishora

Captains of Industry

Local and foreign exhibitors

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my honour and privilege to join you today to celebrate the developments in the Information Communication Technology sector.

ICTs play the critical role of interlinking the different sectors of the economy, linking the vast continents and connecting people worldwide for business, social or research purposes. With ICTs the world is at your click.

Our meeting today under the theme: “Exploiting the potential of ICTs for sustainable socio and economic transformation”, is testimony that without ICTs there can never be change in our people’s livelihoods.

This conference and exhibition, which I am informed will become an annual event is a very important step towards turning Zimbabwe into an information society.

As Government, we have adopted a policy to make ICTs the central hub to connect the Medium Term Plan, the Millenium Development Goals and other programmes that bring social change to the people of Zimbabwe.

We want ICTs to play a central role in societal transformation and this exhibition is to highlight the importance of developing a conscious ICTs policy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to pay tribute to our exhibitors, from as far as Mauritius and our neighbours South Africa, for gracing this event. Your presence warms up our spirits and proves that ICTs bring us together.

The role of information communication technology in improving the lives of the people cannot be underestimated. Many people, more than ever before, are now exposed to ICTs one way or the other, buying goods and services online, sending messages across the globe or sending emails to business counterparts worldwide.

This means that ICTs are at the heart of almost everything we do. The ICTs sector is one of the critical sectors of the economy.

The computerization programme that the Government through the Ministry of ICTs is spearheading will ensure visibility of ICTs to marginalised communities, connecting them with the rest of the world at a click. The programme has since incorporated e-learning software where the computers are now used as effective learning tools.

The e-learning concept was launched at Chogugudza School in Domboshwa and John Landa Nkomo school in Tsholotsho. The e-learning concept’s primary focus is to reduce the economic, social and educational inequalities existing in our communities. If successfully implemented, the e-learning concept will bridge the digital divide and improve our children’s exposure to the global family.

The recently introduced Community Information Centres will serve as one stop ICTs access points. It would be noble to make these centres e-government access points and support our efforts for e-government development.

Ladies and Gentlemen, ICTs are a critical tool in efforts to eradicate poverty, enhance human development, and achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. In pursuit of this, Zimbabwe has made huge strides in fibre optic developments. Access to ICTs and particularly the internet can provide an even bigger boost to economic growth.

The developments in the ICTs sector require an enabling environment directed by a regulatory framework that promotes growth and investment. In this regard, the Government is currently reviewing the Zimbabwe National ICT Policy to bring it in tandem with international best practices.

This policy is crucial if we are to make our ICTs sector vibrant. It is therefore my appeal to you stakeholders to take advantage of the review process and make representations to shape your industry. It is essential that Zimbabwe has an enabling environment for ICTs development and use.

On that note, Ladies and Gentlemen, I declare this inaugural e-Tech Africa Conference and Exhibition officially opened.

I thank you.

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