CICs crucial in building digital economy: Minister

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INFORMATION Communication Technology (ICT) minister Jenfan Muswere says community information centres (CICs) being established across the country will assist both urban and rural communities in attainment of a digital economy in the face of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Muswere said this yesterday while officially opening the Mashava CIC in Masvingo Province set up by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz).

“Whilst those living in urban centres can easily join the bandwagon and access Internet connectivity, the same cannot be said of rural communities.

“It is for this reason that my ministry is in full support of the drive by Potraz to bridge the digital divide through the different programmes the regulator is undertaking to ensure that those in remote rural areas of our country have access to ICTs,” Muswere said.

He said the ICT ministry — which recently launched another CIC in Maphisa in Matabeleland South — will continue to roll out programmes aimed at ensuring that the rural communities are kept abreast of technological developments — more crucially in the era of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has forced businesses to go virtual.

“The implementation of our national ICT policy has led to the rollout of ICT infrastructure comprising of both fibre and wireless technologies, resulting in more than 8,7 million internet subscriptions being recorded as of December 2019,” Muswere said.

He said as a ministry, they were also on a drive to ensure that the safety and security of ICT users was guaranteed and that information churned out to the public was credible.

“As a ministry, we are pleased to note that the enactment of the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill is now at an advanced stage, and we will soon be able to make use of the provisions of that Bill to ensure a safer cyberspace for all Zimbabweans,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, Potraz director-general Gift Machengete said the CIC would make a valued contribution to the economic, social and cultural lives of people in Mashava and surrounding communities.

“The CIC concept is to create centres where the community can access and use ICTs to promote their businesses, advance their education and improve their livelihood.

“Like all the others, Mashava CIC provides basic electronic services such as Internet surfing, electronic mail service, printing, scanning, photocopying and document binding for your convenience.

“The centre also provides free training services to members of the community,” he said.
Machengete said they intended to cover the whole country and ensure that all areas have Internet access.

Potraz also donated 60 computers to six schools in the province, which are Chilonga Secondary School, Dinhe Primary School, Marirangwe Secondary School, Gwamakunguvo Secondary School, Mashava Primary School and Temaraire Secondary School.

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