‘Em­brace tech­nol­ogy, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence’

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Tau­rai Man­gudhla Se­nior Busi­ness Reporter

ZIM­BAB­WEANS should em­brace new tech­nolo­gies and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence to cre­ate em­ploy­ment and im­prove de­vel­op­ment and eco­nomic growth, In­for­ma­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy and Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Supa Mandi­wanzira has said.

Min­is­ter Mandi­wanzira said ev­ery Zim­bab­wean must be con­nected to achieve na­tional and per­sonal growth hence the need for peo­ple to em­brace ICTs.

He was speak­ing at the World Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and In­for­ma­tion So­ci­ety Day cel­e­bra­tions in Murewa yes­ter­day, where he also of­fi­cially opened the Murewa com­mu­nity in­for­ma­tion cen­tre (CIC).

He said gov­ern­ment has cre­ated a base for peo­ple to be con­nected to ICTs through the CICs and more was be­ing done to en­sure ev­ery­one is con­nected to the in­for­ma­tion su­per high­way.

“We of­fi­cially opened a CIC here. Yes­ter­day l was in Par­lia­ment when hon­ourable Themba Mliswa said that the last time we (talked about) CICs was when (for­mer pres­i­dent) Mu­gabe was in of­fice. I told him that we don’t play to the gallery and we don’t do work for tele­vi­sion. Since the com­ing in of Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa we have done 60 cen­tres un­der 100 days,” Min­is­ter Mandi­wanzira said.

The CICs help com­mu­ni­ties ac­cess in­for­ma­tion on a num­ber of things in­clud­ing health, agri­cul­ture, min­ing and ed­u­ca­tion.

He said: “We need to bring peo­ple in ru­ral ar­eas on the in­for­ma­tion su­per high­way. It is for the good of re­searchers, for those in schools, those in agri­cul­ture, those in min­ing, ed­u­ca­tion and sev­eral other sec­tors.”

He en­cour­aged schools to pri­ori­tise in­vest­ment in ICTs.

“We see schools in­vest­ing in buses that travel once a week or a month. We ad­vise that be­fore in­vest­ing in buses, in­vest in com­puter lab­o­ra­to­ries that help our chil­dren and their fu­ture.”

“Par­ents should how­ever, not be bur­dened. As gov­ern­ment we have a plan to have com­put­ers for all and have our chil­dren con­nected. We have that pro­gram as gov­ern­ment un­der the lead­er­ship of Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa.”

So far, NetOne has been given $71 mil­lion to con­struct more than 120 boost­ers in re­mote ar­eas.

Po­traz, di­rec­tor gen­eral Dr Gift Machengete said the fo­cus across the board is on ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence.

“It’s the abil­ity of ma­chines and com­put­ers to learn from data trends and hu­mans. It is part of an ecosys­tem of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies like big data. We will con­tinue con­nect­ing the un­con­nected. We re­main aware of the ICT sec­tor to do more in pro­vid­ing con­nec­tiv­ity and uni­ver­sal­is­ing broad­band,” Dr Machengete said.

The gov­ern­ment e-learn­ing pro­gram pro­vided 100 lap­tops to var­i­ous schools in the area to en­hance con­nec­tiv­ity

Min­is­ter Mandi­wanzira also urged Zim­bab­weans to em­brace mo­bile money and avoid bank queues.

In a speech read on be­half of In­ter­na­tional Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Union ( ITU) sec­re­tary gen­eral Houlin Zhao, ITU Sadc rep­re­sen­ta­tive Chali Tumelo ITU said: “We fo­cus on the im­por­tance of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence in en­hanc­ing the achieve­ment of UN sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment goals by 2030. Emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies have as­sisted in im­prov­ing lives by im­prov­ing health­care, fi­nance and other issues.”

Mashona­land East Min­is­ter of State David Mus­abayana said ICTs are key en­ablers for eco­nomic growth and de­vel­op­ment.

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