‘Zim has world class innovators’
ZIMBABWE has brilliant young information communication technology (ICT) innovators with potential to become among the world’s greatest innovators, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Officially opening the ICT Innovations showcase in Bulawayo on Wednesday evening, ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said he was impressed by the innovations that were being showcased to address the needs of modern day society.
He said exposure and lack of marketing were the setbacks affecting the innovations by the local innovators.
“Early this year, I was in Barcelona where every year they have what they call the ‘ Mobile World Congress’ where people gather to talk about technology, ICTs and telecommunications. . .
“I must tell you that the innovations that we saw today (Wednesday) are much better than what was showcased at that congress,” said Minister Mandiwanzira.
“What that means is that what we saw outside this evening has the capacity and potential to be bigger than what [Facebook founder, Mark Elliot] Zuckerberg built.”
The innovations that the young innovators showcased included an online platform where parents are able to check whether their children have been given homework.
Another platform that charmed Minister Mandiwanzira was an innovation where people can order food from food outlets such as hotels and restaurants in the comfort of their homes or offices.
He said the innovations by local innovators resembled creativity and responsiveness to the needs of modern day society.
Against this background, he said such innovations require support from the Government and industry players.
The Government has since set aside a $25 million ICT innovation fund, which is expected to be launched soon.
The fund aims to avail financial resources to support start-up of technological projects.
“There’s a reason why Zimbabwe is the most literate society on the African continent; and there’s a reason why our mobile phone penetration is more than 105 percent, because we’re smart.
“We can take up technologies quicker than any other society on the African continent. We are a big market for innovations, so, we need to take advantage of these opportunities and create employment for our young people, and create millionaires for our own people,” he said.
Minister Mandiwanzira reiterated that the Government was ICT-ready and has partnered with ICT industry players in promoting innovations in the country to boost economic development.
“The Government is investing in infrastructure, it is building fibre networks ... and what that means is we’re bringing more people into the information super highway and that they can begin accessing internet,” he said.
For example, through the State-owned mobile telecommunications network, NetOne the Government has invested in the national network broadband project where the operator has invested $218 million under phase II of the project.
NetOne has also a $485 million loan facility with China Exim Bank under the Phase III of the firm’s national network broadband project expected to begin next year.
The Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services, Supa Mandiwanzira, discusses a point with one of the innovators, Ms Andile Ncube, at a Bulawayo hotel on Wednesday