Poor investments hinder e-solutions growth

HARARE - Growth of e-solutions in Zimbabwe is being severely hindered by poor investment in information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and implementation of a comprehensive legislation, ICT experts say.

This comes as ICTs minister Nelson Chamisa slammed Finance minister Tendai Biti for allocating “meagre funds” for his ministry in the 2013 national budget.

Chamisa — who believes ICT is key in steering Zimbabwe’s moribund economy towards recovery — said the $7 million allocation by Biti is a “drop in the ocean” compared to the sector’s role.

He said the sector requires a $1 billion plus to match international standards.

Zimbabwe is currently struggling to retain its position as Southern Africa’s second largest economy after South Africa, and the key to improving that, the experts say, lies in a strong electronic business base.

They also said investment in electronic business systems will also narrow the gap separating Zimbabwe from the developed world, and possibly increase the level and quantity of trade as well as socio-economic development.

“We need a dynamic ICT policy as soon as possible that can then be used as a framework to develop an e-commerce policy like other countries,” said Cade Zvavanjanja, an ICT expert.

“Our companies’ policies need to support the transition from pure brick and mortar companies to brick and click companies and also encourage the establishment of purely click (online) companies,” Zvavanjanja said.

Calls have consistently been made to expedite a comprehensive ICT legislation in order to facilitate projects and business.

This will also allow the establishment of venture capital with low interest capital loans to assist in the setting up of ICT based firms.

Zvavanjanja added that collective effort was needed to tackle the massive ICT professionals’ brain drain by offering competitive packages in the country.

“This will attract other IT expatriates to come into Zimbabwe, hence boost the e-commerce manpower-acumen and  knowledge base,” said Zvavanjanja.

He added that the tertiary education system needed to shift its curriculum from producing pure academics to grooming professionals relevant to the digital world.

Zvavanjanja also said that there was need for internet service providers to provide reliable services while Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) ensured that is done accordingly.

“Ports of entry and exit need to embrace e-commerce transactions to facilitate the smooth and fast processing of the goods.”

“This can be reached by professional inter agency cooperation and electronisation of our  ports authorities that is Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), Department of Immigration, Zimbabwe Republic Police and other special interest groups,” said Zvavanjanja.

Currently government is working on an ICT policy expected to liberalise entry of new players in the sector and provide an enabling environment to enhance economic growth, according to Chamisa.

Chamisa recently said the draft policy had already gone through countrywide consultations to benchmark it against other policies in the region and beyond. - Kudzai Chawafambira

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.