Zim dreams of Africa's Silicon Valley tag

HARARE - Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technologies (ZICT) is betting on government’s benevolence to grant it land that can be used to set up an innovation hub in the country.

ZICT executive Daniel Rusike said his organisation has put forward a request for 200 hectares of land to develop the country’s Silicon Valley at the new town centre in Mount Hampden.

“Subsequently, this initial techno-hub will be a model for the development of affiliated provincial innovation hubs. Furthermore, ZICT proposes the use of the Private, Public Partnership (PPP) model for the development of the Innovation Techno-hub,” he said.

Silicon Valley, in the southern San Francisco Bay Area of California, United States, is home to many start-up and global technology companies.

Apple, Facebook and Google are among the most prominent. It’s also the site of technology-focused institutions centred around Palo Alto’s Stanford University.

Rusike noted that in order for Zimbabwe to catch up in the innovation ranking, there is need to invest and build up on factors such as human capital and research and infrastructure, among other things.

“This would in turn result in improving the Innovation output side due to evidence by a rise in technology exports,” he added.

This comes as Zimbabwe ranks very low at number 133 out of 145 countries on the Global Innovation Index (GII) as reported in the 2015 Global Innovation Index Report.

However, the country is not even ranked in the GII 2016 report.

Rusike said the reason for Zimbabwe’s unrated status was either due to insufficient data to determining ranking, or the country’s performance was beyond reporting.

“Extant research has shown the significant correlation between economic growth and innovation in an economy,” he said.

“The basic understanding is that the causal effect of investment in innovation promotes economic growth. The retro-causal relationship is also true to a certain degree, that is, economic growth spurs innovation activities as investments in research and development increase,” Rusike added.

Information gathered by the businessdaily shows that there is a strong correlation between levels of innovation capital as a proportion of gross domestic product, and absolute labour productivity growth. Accordingly, Innovation Capital is an important driver of economic growth.

In most selected countries it contributes to a significant part of business sector labour productivity growth.

On its part, the Zimbabwean government recently crafted a national ICT Policy aimed at promoting and incentivise investment in high-tech and high value-added manufacturing and business ICT services — through the establishment of technology-park with special economic zone status.

“This policy shift intends to attract world-class investments in high-tech manufacturing of mobile device manufacturing, chips, processors and related accessories — to make Zimbabwe the regional hub for knowledge intensive ICT manufacturing and service activities,” read part of the country’s ICT policy statement. 

Comments (1)

ha ha ha ha! zim and wishes! it never stops kurota matuzvi.

donato matinjili - 16 March 2017

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