The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) Director General Dr. Gift Kalisto Machengete challenged innovators to be much more innovative or risk extinction in a fast evolving technological environment we are currently living in. Addressing 200 delagates who had gathered in kwekwe for the Potraz 2021 Hackathon, the director general echoed his statement that stone age did not pass because the people ran out of stones.
The Director General said,
“The stone age did not end because people ran out of stones because this is very important we have to understand that it only ended because people found better ways of making tools and better ways of living.”
The Director General emphasized on why old technologies ceased adding, ”That’s why it ended.”
”Dinossaurs are extinct today because they drove themselves into extinction.They could not innovate,” Dr Machengete said.
The DG continued, ”They practiced survival of the fittest instead of survival of the smartest.How?They are believed to have literally eaten each other into oblivion, into extinction as they could not invent other ways of survival.”
Machengete asked rhetorically ”Where are the camera fuel manufacturing giants, you remember kodak where are they they filed for bankruptcy, where are the drive in cinema’s nowhere, what is happening today to the print media?What will happen to hotels?With Air B and B.WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO DRIVERS WITH DRIVELESS CARS?”
DG Machengete went on on with the history lesson illuminating the country on the need to adapt to new technological trends stating, ”Ladies and gentlemen, human beings have survived , have survived for so long due to their ability to invent and their ability to innovate .There are several inventions that have shaped humanity.Take fire, for example, this was the beginning of civilization, from eating a game carcas on the go like hyenas to having the patience to cook meat and eat as a community, even improving the taste.”
”The first theme hon Min focused on ICT applications aimed at minimizing the spread, improving response mechanisms and promoting the public awareness of the covid19 pandemic, a relevant theme indeed considering the desruptions caused by covid 19.”
”The second theme, focused on proferring solutions for low average agricultural youths in the country because, we found this theme out because Zimbabwe is an agro based economy hence innovations in this field will go a long way in boosting and also growing the economy of Zimbabwe.”
Addressing the same occasion, ICT minister Dr Jenfan Muswere concurred with Machengete that despite challenges posed by Covid-19, the postal and ICT industry had continued to offer the usual services “albeit observing the social distancing measures”.
Furthermore, the postal service brought convenience to consumers through providing delivery services for goods purchased online during the lockdown restrictions. This is what gives THE COUNTRY hope, and BELIEF that modernisation of the sector will help Zimbabwe alleviate and overcome the effects of the pandemic.
Globally, the postal sector is drifting away from focusing on offering traditional mail business, which was predominantly letters, and is now focusing more on e–commerce, agency and financial services to enhance financial inclusion, through provision of e–solutions, which are cost sensitive and widely accessible.
Muswere said the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus had minimised physical contact leading to an accelerated usage of digital platforms wherein individuals, organisations and governments have had to adapt in order to stay safe, stay afloat and survive.
Covid-19 has negatively affected the postal and courier sector as evidenced by the massive drop in volumes across all service categories, and according to the Universal Postal Union, cross-border exchanges worldwide have dropped by 21 percent since the outbreak of the disease.
Muswere implored the postal and courier sector to explore and establish e-substitution solutions in line with global trends, including introducing mobile addresses that will eliminate the need to physically travel to a postal facility.
He urged the Post Office to consider drone deliveries as these will eliminate risks associated with physical contact between postal staff and customers.
He added that in the face of the Covid-19 induced challenges, efficient and affordable ICT infrastructure and services allow countries to participate in the digital economy and to increase their overall economic well-being, competitiveness, digital inclusion, poverty reduction and improved health.
The ICT Boss said that Zimbabwe needs digital comrades and must aggressively fight cyber related crimes.
Speaking to TechnoMag on the sidelines of the Potraz 2021 hackathon challenge, Muswere said the country needs digital warriors to fight for Zimbabwe.
“We want a battallion of ict experts,we want brigades of ict experts and we also want an army of young people,an army of academic and non academic ict experts,”
Muswere added, ”So that they CAN contribute to the fourth indsutrial revolution to ensure that Zimbabwe becomes the number 1 ICT country in terms of access,utilisation,industry growth and governance.”
The Director General was in tandem with what Minister Muswere said reminding his listeners and his boss the minister that, ”Another notable invention was the wheel which was first invented for use in pottery and then experimented on chariots, the rest is history”