Government will soon launch the Zim ICT Innovation Fund in that act revolving fund for young ICT entrepreneurs in a bid to promote innovation and build capacity amongst the young generation, a senior cabinet official has said.
This announcement comes after government has fininalised setting up the framework for the fund valued at $25 million.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Speaking at the Zim ICT Innovation Fund Breakfast Dialogue, ICT Postal and Courier Services minister Hon Supa Mandiwanzira said the initiative would be unveiled as soon as Government realises the results.
“Way forward, is that we will officially launch this fund very very soon.
“But the most exciting thing is that we will launch the fund at a time when we already have results where we will actually be giving money, giving grants to institutions that have already adopted some of these young innovators and are already working on some of these innovations commercially applicable and viable,”he said.
“The country’s mobile network operators have been increasing investment into boosting their networks. What we need to do is be alert that this network can actually be harvested by people sitting in Silicon Valley. Microsoft does not put a cent in putting fibre in this country, Government does.
“But who comes in to take the business? It’s Microsoft because all schools must have Microsoft software. So why should we not now turn the Government investment that is paid for by tax payers to empower Zimbabweans. We can continue working with those (external software developers) but let’s have a deliberate effort to bring our people into that money chain and we have said through our policy – the new ICT Policy – which was recently approved by Government that 30 percent of all our software procurement by Government and industry must come from locals.
“We have to deliberately create the market if we are to be successful. We believe that we must put provisions within regulations and within the law to say you must support the locals to the extent of 30 percent of your expenditure,”said Minister Mandiwanzira.