The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) concerned with importing softwares from other countries, feels the neccesity of procuring some of them locally, it has emerged.
This was said by Computer Society of Zimbabwe executive director Viola Dondo at the Google Dev Fest Southern Africa held on Saturday in Harare. Coming against the backdrop of foreign currency shortages, this realization by the apex bank to engage the services of local developers is a challenge to developers in coming up with homegrown softwares that can be used locally.
“Several weeks ago we were invited to a meeting at the RBZ, and they said to us we are importing a lot of software what can we do to develop some of the softwares within the country so that we don’t have to spend a lot of money importing the softwares.
“So that’s a challenge for us as software developers. We need to develop some of the softwares here. And we have got the capacity, we have everything here. If developers are being hired in South Africa, and all the other places it means we got the brains here,” said Dondo.
Dondo also said the forthcoming Summer school scheduled for November will among many issues discuss the matter of foreign currency as developers are having torrid time in making payments.
Last year, Government said it moved to encourage the growth of the local information, communication and technology (ICT) sector by instituting a 30 percent quota local procurement policy for software.
This would apply to both the public and private sectors. ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said the provisions are contained in the recently approved National ICT Policy and would be extended to laws governing the ICT sector.
“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,” said the Minister.
“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.”