The Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services alongside its regulatory arm has been making so much noise about the launch of the Zimbabwe ICT Innovation Fund valued at $25 million earmarked for Zimbabwean innovators.
From the $25 million, $2,5 million is believed to be ready for disbursement with the outstanding projects set to benefit the most according to ICT Postal and Couriers Services Hon Supa Mandiwanzira.
However, #MondayBlues understands Zimbabwe is a nation marred with with skepticism owing policy inconsistencies and high levels of corruption by top government officials. It is from this background that Zimbabweans are questioning the integrity and sincerity as well as the criteria to be used during the funds disbursement process.
While Zimbabweans are waiting in anticipation for the roll out of the Zim ICT Innovators fund, TechnoMag on the other hand is being inundated by inquiries by citizens who want to know the status of the fund.
Rumor mill has it that the ICT innovation fund is likely to be converted into funding the 2018 national pre-election campaign period.
“I think only a few Zimbabwean projects will benefit from the fund, if at all they do, this is most likely a way to fund elections and excite the electorate” said another prominent tech expert who requested anonymity.
However, in an exclusive interview with the ICT minister, Hon Supa Mandiwanzira, he said the government process is going to be fully accountable and transparent to deliver the mission.
“Remember, every cent that comes through Potraz is fully audited and accounted for and government will be transparent to make sure we achieve the main purpose of promoting our young ICT innovators,” he said.
The minister also rubbished the skepticism on how the funds will be administered promising the nation that this is a national project without any political inclination where the intended recipients will benefit.
From his understanding, the ICT minister strongly believes that young Zimbabwean tech players can bring solutions that are bespoke to Zimbabwean tech environment and can create revenue and employment for the next generation through ICTs.
Hon Supa Mandiwanzira wants to see Zimbabwean tech players create local giant solutions that can compete with apps like Whataspp and vibe, while in the long run create solutions that can allow telecommunications players to start sharing revenue with young players.
Over The Top Services (OTTs) like Whatsapp, We chat, Viber, Facebook have drastically reduced revenue for all mobile network operators around the globe. Instead of fighting these solutions, Zimbabwean government is trying to create solutions that actually benefit both the operators and tech players to create new revenue .-