But the question is can Zimbabwe capitalise on the ICT Growth.
Zimbabwe has been making history, for the first time ever consecutively registering a tremendous technological growth rate, creating new records, attracting due attention from the world over as we gear up for the new digital era, sad enough with little to no due attention from the local community.
Coming from an all time low of 11% in 2010 to 47% in 2014, Zimbabwe`s Internet penetration rate is still shooting with a recent 3% mark from the last quarter, while the mobile penetration has soured to a new all time heights of 103% (live SIM).
According to Potraz, Zimbabwe`s total number of internet subscribers as at June 2014 rose from 5,6million last year in March to 6.1 million.
Currently Zimbabwe is ranked the second fastest ICT developing country in the world as we have seen great leaps in our statistics, a move mainly driven by the availability of broadband options at a much lower cost plus recent sharp decrease in mobile device due to the entry of new local players and competitive pricing and per second billing which made access to communication affordable.
By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
Last year, the then ICT minister Hon Nelson Chamisa during a Microsoft event, said that Zimbabwe was set for an unprecedented growth rate that will see the availability and affordability of mobile devices becoming so popular that even the rural folks will pay Lobola with mobile money and some will use the devices to trap mice with.
This obviously attracted all the laughter and humour it deserved from the audience but amidst the cheer, i personally saw the reality and practicality of a modern day seamlessly connected generation.
According to International Telecommunications Union`s, (ITU ) last report , New data from the 2013 edition of Measuring the Information Society reveal that the Republic of Korea leads the world in terms of overall ICT development for the third consecutive year, followed closely by Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Norway.
The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Hong Kong (China) also rank in the top 10, with the UK nudging into the top 10 group from 11th position last year.
ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI)* ranks 157 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills, and compares 2012 and 2013 scores. It is widely recognized by government, UN agencies and industry as the most accurate and impartial measure of overall national ICT development.
The report identifies a group of ‘most dynamic countries’, which have recorded above-average improvements in their IDI rank or value over the past 12 months. These include (in order of most improved): United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Barbados, Seychelles, Belarus, Costa Rica, Mongolia, Zambia, Australia, Bangladesh, Oman and Zimbabwe.
For the first time ever Zimbabwe last year and this year has found place in the history of technologically advancing nations world over.
“This year’s IDI figures show much reason for optimism, with governments clearly prioritizing ICTs as a major lever of socio-economic growth, resulting in better access and lower prices,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré. “Our most pressing challenge is to identify ways to enable those countries which are still struggling to connect their populations to deploy the networks and services that will help lift them out of poverty.”
Amongst the intreting facts are
• 250 million additional people came online in 2012
• Republic of Korea tops ICT ranking for 3rd year in a row
• By end 2013 40% of the world will be online – but 1.1 billion households – or 4.4 billion people – remain unconnected
• Mobile broadband is now more affordable than fixed broadband
• Almost the whole world is now within reach of mobile cellular service
• 30% of the world’s young population are ‘digital natives’
• Broadband is getting faster; 2Mbps now most popular basic package
• Telco operator CAPEX peaked in 2008; despite economic upturn investment levels have not returned
The report also states that a new model developed by ITU for this year’s report estimates the size of the digital native population worldwide, showing that in 2012 there were around 363 million digital natives out of a world population of around 7 billion. This equates to 5.2 per cent of the total global population, and 30 per cent of the global youth population. The model defines digital natives as networked youth aged 15-24 years with five or more years of online experience.
Out of a total of 145 million young Internet users in the developed countries, 86.3 per cent are estimated to be digital natives, compared with less than half of the 503 million young Internet users in the developing world. Within the next five years, the digital native population in the developing countries is forecast to more than double.
This is the moment we need not only celebrate as a nation but should aggressively move in and position ourselves to benefit from the new digital era. Technology has greatly affected the GDPof many countries, in Zimbabwe we are still admiring statistics while the proper systems to monetise are nit yet up to scratch.
We have managed to get the world attention, its time all stakeholders take advantage of this moment, with government at forefront, making sure policies created will stimulate the growth of the sector.