Some communities in Manicaland are still living in make shifts tents after cyclone Idai ravaged and swoop away houses, shops powerlines and telecommunications basesstations.
However there has been some tremendous efforts to restore livelihoods in Manicaland, with NetOne recently switching on community members of Machongwe with a shared basestation ready to connect Econet and Telecel services as well.
In his address during the official commissioning of the base station, the minister of ICT Postal and courier services Hon Jenfan Muswere said
I must commend NetOne’s thrust to fulfill the governments initiative to provide coverage and digital exposure to originally marginalized rural populations, especially in light of the fact that Machongwe’s commercial centre was wiped out by Cyclone IDAI. Furthermore, a lot of critical infrastructure in the area was either cut off or swept away by flash floods and mudflows induced by the Cyclone. Machongwe bore the full wrath of the cyclone, which makes todays Base Station commissioning such a special event and story of restoration of communication solutions in the area.
This will no doubt promote employment creation, by enhancing distribution and access channels. I have also been advised that this Machongwe Tower has already been provisioned for infrastructure sharing, meaning that the other operators Econet and Telecel are free to utilize this same infrastructure and install their equipment on this base station cost effectively.
On behalf of the government, we call upon the Machongwe community to embrace the enhanced network provision, to facilitate and promote trade, within the constituency as a whole. This infrastructure should therefore be guarded jealously. The improved network coverage within the District, is a conduit for ease of doing business through NetOne’s products and services. The Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services is here to ensure equitable access by all citizens, including disadvantaged groups and rural communities in Zimbabwe, and we are happy to be a catalyst for reconnecting Machongwe community to the rest of the country and the world at large.
Please join me in acknowledging the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Manicaland, Hon. Ellen Gwaradzimba, not only for being a courteous host, but for actively spearheading development within the province. I would also wish to congratulate the MP for the area, Hon Joshua Sacco, for his unwavering commitment to his constituency. I have been advised that he was instrumental in assisting NetOne to mobilize a grader to ensure that there is improved accessibility to this site, as well as for ZESA to connect to the main grid. These efforts will improve access to ICTs for 10 rural schools and 5 clinics within the area, capacitating them for e-learning, e-Health and plugging the digital gap as we embrace the Digital Economy.