While there may have been deliberate attempts and efforts to discredit the a national STEM project being engineered by Professor Jonathan Moyo,`s Ministry of Higher and tertiary Science and technology development, The minister of ICTPS Hon Supa Mandiwanzira has openly come out to support the initiative of his counterpart.
Interestingly few years back, Hon Supa Mandiwanzira used to deputize Prof Moyo as the minister of Information and Broadcasting services, and today its not a shocker for them to find common ground as they are all working towards government projects to the development of Science and technologies.
In his Speech, during the official opening of e-tech Africa 2016 ,the Hon Minister made emphasis of various technologies and developments we have made as a nation and highlighted the importance and relevance of STEM.
Research and Development (R&D) spending, venture capital for innovative initiatives and a forward looking educational curricula that prepare its graduates for the challenges of globalization. The STEM initiative, for example, is exactly what we are talking about.
here is the full speech by the Hon minister
My warm greetings to you all especially those from across our borders; you have done us great favour by coming to see what our ICT sector has to offer and sharing with us your expertise and experiences. It is my hope that this forum will enable us all to exchange ideas that will enhance the development of the ICT, Postal Courier Services sector for it has become an important technological focus and is viewed worldwide as the wheels of economic activity.
In our Zimbabwean scenario ICT is one of the pillars of our economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset). Let me also thank organizers of this event for coming up with brilliant discussion sessions that include, e-Government, Cyber security, tele-medicine, e-Commerce, e-Waste, development of fibre-to-the-home and innovation hubs (FTTH). These areas are critical because they address both the social and economic aspects of our lives.
This year’s theme “Creating a Climate for Innovation and Access to Global Markets” is quite interesting as it challenges everybody to work towards inclusivity and competitiveness. There are so many ways of creating a climate for innovation and access to global markets. One way which I think is critical is the creation of an ICT enabling environment focusing on regulatory issues and ICT infrastructure. As a nation we may have innovative minds but without the relevant regulatory framework and ICT infrastructure we will not get anywhere.
Ladies and gentlemen, talk about the formulation of an ICT Policy Framework should be a thing of the past. If you recall, last year during our e-Tech Africa Conference we deliberated on the finalization of this Policy Framework. The whole of last year the document was in and out of some offices where it was undergoing scrutiny and I am happy to announce to you today that the document is now past the Working Party and now before the Committee of Ministers. Other sub-sector Policies and legislation that are awaiting approval of the Policy Framework are already at an advanced stage of approval and these include, the National Cyber Security Policy and the Cyber security related Bills covering Data Protection, Cybercrime and Cyber security, e-Transaction and e-Commerce.
The ICT infrastructure is the driver of every nation’s economy. Equitable and adequate access to ICT is essential for growth of the Zimbabwe economy. With greater access to technology, workers are able to perform many everyday jobs much more swiftly and extra tasks away from the ofﬁce creating. This, in turn, tends to increase productivity and enhance growth. Our FTTH Council friends who are here with us all the way from South Africa will emphases how crucial ICT infrastructure is, in developing economies.
The former Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Kofi Annan in 1999 said “The Internet holds the greatest promise humanity has ever known ……It offers the best chance yet for developing countries to take their rightful place in the global economy… And so our mission must be to ensure access as widely as possible”. Here these big brains were talking about none other than the ICT infrastructure. The most important aspect of the ICT challenge therefore, is the need to plan, design and implement a national ICT infrastructure as the engine of economic growth and development.
All we are saying here, ladies and gentlemen, is that the agenda for global market preparedness include a heavy emphasis on the development of the telecommunications and internet infrastructure. Since technology is a major driver of globalization, the center piece of preparedness must be a focus on investments that expand the technological capability of Zimbabwe. By all means necessary we must put emphasis on – institutional development, Research and Development (R&D) spending, venture capital for innovative initiatives and a forward looking educational curricula that prepare its graduates for the challenges of globalization. The STEM initiative, for example, is exactly what we are talking about.
Ladies and gentlemen, 2016 e-Tech Conference is packed with exciting topics and presenters who took it upon themselves to richly share their knowledge and expertise. It is that spirit which will see us grow into a technological hub. I will not take much of your time but with your permission, I will quickly go through our thematic sessions that you discussed yesterday.
E-Government, the use of ICTs to improve the activities of public sector organisations is very critical as it ensures transparency, efficiency and accountability. The three main domains of e-government, are
- Improving government processes: eAdministration
- Connecting citizens: eCitizens and eServices
- Building external interactions: eSociety
As government we are happy that through our Zim Portal a lot of services are now on-line and we are working to ensure that a lot more services be included. Transparency and accountability as we are gathered here are already being realized as a result of the implementation of e-government in Zimbabwe.
E-commerce is an important area that requires discussion. I thank you for that. E-commerce is defined as every type of business transaction or interaction in which the participants prepare or conduct business electronically. This covers a wide range of activities, ranging from use of electronic mail, through to internet based sales and transactions and web based marketing. E-Commerce is one of the important applications of the new communication technology. Producers, traders and consumers can now reach the market more quickly and get more information than they could ever before. The use of web sites enlarges the potential global market and sales revenue, products, potential new customers, services and geographical area. E-commerce has also reduced the transaction costs, allied with purchase, sales, operating, holding inventory and financial costs. The Community Information Centres (CICs) that our Ministry intends to establish in all the administrative districts will go a long way in enhancing e-commerce. Today where CICs are operational, like at Murombedzi, Maphisa and Rusape to mention just a few, people are doing business in a modern way. They no longer travel without knowledge of the point of sale or the customers. With continued expansion of our infrastructure base our citizens will enjoy e-commerce to the full benefit.
Ladies and gentlemen, tele-medicine, one of the crucial areas discussed, is emerging as a critical component of the healthcare crisis solution. It holds the promise to significantly impact some of the most challenging problems of our current healthcare system, which are; access to care, cost effective delivery and distribution of limited providers. Tele-medicine can change the current paradigm of care and allow for improved access and improved health outcomes in cost effective ways. Tele-medicine include, services such as remote health monitoring. In this model patients use devices such as smart phones or medical devices to transmit health data to monitoring health organizations. This however requires effective ICT infrastructure which we are envisioned to have ubiquitously by 2020.
E-Waste, refers to electronic products that have reached the end of their useful life. These could be computers, cellphones, printers, TV sets, etc. E-waste is considered dangerous, as certain components of some electronic products contain materials that are hazardous, depending on their condition and density. The Ministry is in the process of formulating an E-Waste (Management and Handling) Policy. Amongst other recommendations, this Policy will recommend carrying out a Baseline Study on the Magnitude of E-Waste Generation in Zimbabwe – Statistics which are currently not available.
Cyber security, also referred to as information technology security, focuses on protecting computers, networks, programs and data from unintended or unauthorized access, change or destruction. Governments, military, corporations, financial institutions, hospitals and other businesses collect, process and store a great deal of confidential information on computers and transmit that data across networks to other computers. With the growing volume and sophistication of cyber-attacks, ongoing attention is required to protect sensitive business and personal information, as well as safeguard national security. The necessary Cyber Security Policy and Cyber Security-related Bills will soon be approved.
Today Ladies and gentlemen the last session talks about Fiber to the home (FTTH), also called “fiber to the premises” (FTTP), is the installation and use of optical fiber from a central point directly to individual buildings such as residences, apartment buildings and businesses to provide unprecedented high-speed Internet access. Today we have experts from South Africa who will deliberate on this topical issue. I need not say anything about this session for I may disturb your anxiety.
Ladies and gentlemen, for the greater part of this afternoon, we will be taken through some innovations that our youths are doing. These home grown innovations are very important because they address issues that we experience on daily basis. These applications are user friendly because they were done by Munashe and Matifadza our own people. Again, I am afraid l will not go into as l may to disturb your anxiety.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me conclude by sharing this quote from some wise person:
The future doesn’t just happen, it is shaped by decisions and such decision are made at for a like these one:
- “Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle — when the sun comes up, you had better be running.”
Ladies and gentlemen when the sun comes up we all better be running….
With these few words l declare thee-Tech Africa Conference and Exhibition Officially Open. May all its deliberations be fruitful. And It is my desire to see you again on next year at ETech Africa 2017 at the ZITF grounds in Bulawayo
I thank you,