The new ICT policy will soon be sailing through cabinet after a protracted process that has spawned over 4 years as the document went through nationwide consultation, review and validation revealed the minister of ICT postal and courier services Honourable Supa Mandiwanzira.
Speaking to TechnoMag in a Youtube video Interview, the minister said that the ICT policy is currently his high priority as the industry needs serious regulation over many anomalies.
The ICT policy will be finalised during the upcoming e-Tech Africa expo 2015 where various stakeholders gather during the anual exhibition event at HICC.
By Gift Chirauro and Shyline Guvakuva
“What we are working on right now is that by end of March, I should have taken the revised ICT policy after consultation, to the cabinet for discussion and hopefully adoption”, said Mandiwanzira
He added that, in a dynamic industry and country where ICT’s are rapidly growing, there is an urgent need to unveil a cyber bill to curb high rates of cybercrime; hence an urgent need for a legal framework to deal with this as it is one of the urgent priorities.
Zimbabwe first launched its national ICT Policy Framework in 2007, but the document was overtaken by developments in the fast-growing sector. It was during the Nelson Chamisa era that the ministry of ICTs decided to launch the nationwide consultation workshops in order to review the document for validation.
The National ICT Policy is expected to provide for, among other things, the establishment of national information and communication technology authority, national information and communication technology converged regulator and e-government.
Also, soon after the policy was reviewed, it was then submitted for validation which took place few weeks after the inception of the revised doc. The validation stage involved the corroboration information, which was gathered during the outreach programme with the information contained in the original draft.
The then ICT minister Nelson Chamisa highlighted that the policy was crucial ,as it will buttress the country’s achievements in ICT’s.It is also noted that the ICT growth, during that time, had been largely driven by the high mobile penetration rate which skyrocketed from 19% to 79%.
Furthermore, in 2014, under the then ICT minister Webster Shamu we witnessed the review of the ICT policy in the form of consultations from ICT stakeholders. The exercise was necessary to ensure that the policies that govern our sector will be current and also be able to respond to national needs and challenges.
The consultative process managed to deliberate on issues such as ICT Governance, e-Government, ICT Access, Utilization and ICT Infrastructure. Heated debates rose from how infrastructure players can find ways to share their platforms as access providers with statutes which exclusively guard against mobile wars.
With all these processes happening since the inception of the ICT policy, The onus is now on the new ICT minister to make sure that this project is finalised and launched as we already have three ministers overseeing the same document during their separate tenure yet nothing has materialised.
The current ICT policy that we are using was crafted ten years ago and is no longer in touch with relavant technological developments in Zimbabwe.
The last validation process had produced this ICT policy Draft