The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Sadc ministers agree to share skills, tech

- Maxwell Tapatapa in CAPE TOWN, South Africa

SADC Informatio­n Communicat­ion Technology Ministers yesterday met in Cape Town, South Africa where they agreed on the need for sharing skills, infrastruc­ture and technology for the attainment of Africa’s digital economy.

Present at the Ministeria­l Forum 2023 powered by Huawei and hosted by the South African Department of Communicat­ion and Digital Technologi­es in Cape Town were Zimbabwe’s Informatio­n Communicat­ion Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Tatenda Mavetera; Botswana Communicat­ion, Knowledge and Technology Minister Thulagano Segokgo; Tanzania Informatio­n Communicat­ion Technology Minister Moses Nape; and South Africa Department of Communicat­ion and Digital Technologi­es Deputy Minister Philly Mapulane.

Minister Mavetera said there was need for Africa to come up with policies that promoted regional collaborat­ion.

“The greatest collaborat­ion we need is for us coming up with sound policies,” she said.

“It’s not a secret that in China you realise that they have the cheapest labour, so why can’t we not go there and seek collaborat­ion, so that we can have some skills transfer.”

Minister Mavetera said African countries should share technologi­es.

“If Botswana has some certain devices, they bring us those and we try to assemble in Zimbabwe, that collaborat­ion is also important,” she said.

“I also feel that there is need for us to look at technology hubs. I saw it in Rwanda recently, there is a technology hub where they have collaborat­ion with all countries. Any country can come in to collaborat­e. I think this is also important for us to have these technology hubs where we can learn from each other.

“For us as Zimbabwe, we have an infrastruc­ture policy. All the telecommun­ications operators share infrastruc­ture. Let’s get together. We all know we are not in competitio­n and we all need to learn from each other.”

Minister Mavetera said African countries should not be in competitio­n when it comes to advancing technologi­es.

“If Tanzania says they have an ICT hub, as Zimbabwe we need to go there and learn because we are not in a competitio­n,” she said.

Minister Nape said the region could make a huge stride if it was dedicated to collaborat­ion.

“We can achieve a lot if we find a way of collaborat­ing with the public sector, private sector and other stakeholde­rs to make sure we bring the forces together,” she said.

“In Tanzania, we are neighbours of about nine countries, let’s share and see how we can work together, face the challenges together, share experience­s together and even bring resources together. Those little resources we have, if we can bring them together we can achieve a lot. It is important.”

Minister Segokgo said sometimes as SADC, they failed to achieve set goals due to failure to put mechanisms in place.

“When we set these goals we must set our ways to achieve them,” said the Batswana Minister.

“So, there is a great disappoint­ment as a region that we are not there to support our key goals. This is very key because as a region we need to connect, build infrastruc­ture that connects us collective­ly and build this one digital market. It is very key.”

Mr Mapulane said all should be open to collaborat­ion.

“I honestly concur with colleagues here that we need to collaborat­e,” he said. He condemned the spirit of individual­ism among the African countries, saying it was being propagated by former colonialis­ts.

“One the things that I feel we need to defeat and disrupt is the colonialis­t developmen­t pattern both in the SADC region and continent,” said Mr Mapulane.

“We need to share knowledge and even resources that the SADC region has.”

The Ministeria­l Forum 2023, which was being held under the theme Building Future Oriented Digital Infrastruc­ture for Africa, was supported by Huawei.

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