Government is enacting policies to facilitate the development of an enabling environment for internet connectivity to curb the effects of future natural disasters such as the one induced by Cyclone Idai in the eastern and southern parts of the country, Information Communication Technology and Courier Services Minister Kazembe Kazembe.
Addressing the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday Minister Kazembe said Zimbabwe cannot run away from its role in the creation of an enabling environment for ICTs.
“Even in this dire situation, dear WSIS participants, we cannot run away from the role of Government in creating an enabling environment.
“For Zimbabwe, this is not the time to make small plans or to come up with stopgap policies. This is the opportunity to put up state-of-the-art infrastructure. To use these devastated areas as the springboard for development of the whole country,” he said.
Minister Kazembe said the Government has done a lot to create an enabling environment, not only for the ICT sector business community but for the ordinary person’s ICT aspirations to be fulfilled.
“The first step that the Government took was to entrench every citizen’s right to information, to education and to freedom of communication in the country’s constitution in 2013 while the second was a wholesale review of the National ICT Policy.
“The others include cooperation with the country’s neighbours and be part of the SADC’s protocols on development. These cover ICTs, encourage the country’s operators to invest in submarine cables and the Government through the Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services has also been training the communities in rural and remote areas in order to make them receptive to ICT products for their own benefit,” he said.
He said that the efforts were in line with the International Telecommunications Union’s approach that each country in the WSIS should play its role in the building of an enabling environment for internet connectivity according to its level of development.
Speaking during the same occasion, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority director-general Dr Gift Machengete said there was need for landlocked countries like Zimbabwe to be assisted with funds to create an enabling environment for the growth of ICTs.
Dr Machengete was responding to questions during the forum.
“Sustainable Development Goal 9c on access to ICTs for all by 2030 will remain a pipedream if certain fundamental aspects are not attended to especially in developing countries. Landlocked developing countries appeal to the world for capacitation to accelerate the provision of an enabling environment,” he said.
“We need funding for ICT and energy infrastructure, inclusivity for disabled and speakers of minority languages.
“We also need funds for content development, research and development, capacity building, accelerated ICT access and use.”