By Farai Dauramanzi
Economic experts have identified ICT systems as a major enabler of economic growth under the country’s ZIMASSET economic blueprint.
This came out of a policy and practice dialogue session that was held on Tuesday 4 November 2014 in Harare. The event was organised by the Computer Society of Zimbabwe’s Harare Chapter in collaboration with UNDP to reflect on the key pillars of a digital economy as a backbone upon which ICTs can lead to economic growth.
Ethel Bangwayo the national economist for UNDP Zimbabwe who presented on key economic priorities and lingering challenges said that ICT was critical in the growth of all economic sectors under ZIMASSET.
“Overall, ICT is recognised as an enabler for economic growth for ZIMASSET implementation and it is very much a cross cutting theme in ZIMASSET,” said Bangwayo.
Bangwayo went on to explain that most of the challenges being faced by various industries in the country can be addressed by the use of new technologies and adoption of ICTs.
Taps Murove the Operations Manager of Hypercube who presented his Digital Velocity Framework on how to build a digital economy said that the the first step begins with providing digital infrastructure which is then followed by having the necessary digital competencies which finally leads to the creation of a digital economy.
“The Digital Velocity Framework essentially identifies particular capacities that are necessary in order for a country to go forward…The idea of the digital velocity framework is to try and outline the different components were people can actually fit inside, where different players within the market can partner each other to actually grow and move forward because the economy is interlinked,” said Murove.
“So once people begin to speak the same language in terms of digital infrastructure and digital competencies we can understand how to move forward as partners in development,” added Murove.
Dorothy Mpyisi-Adebanjo of Sandown Corporate Limited (UK) who talked about the role of collaborative and strategic partnerships in harnessing the potential of ICTs for development said that PPPs in ICT can bring about long term benefits to developing communities.
“One of the major concerns with PPPs in the developing world particularly in rural communities is that they do not address the larger issues of socio-economic development and poverty eradication. We beg to differ, we believe that when PPPs are well thought out and designed with empowerment of localities in mind they can bring about long term economic benefits,” said Mpyisi-Adebanjo.
Mpiyisi-Adebanjo said rural communities can benefit immensely from the use of ICT such as broadband connections which can allow farmers to monitor the selling prices of their commodities in cities.