Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services minister Tatenda Mavetera

Zimbabwe developing Artificial Intelligence policy

THE Zimbabwe government is developing a national Artificial Intelligence (AI) policy to govern the use of the Internet and other emerging technologies, a cabinet minister said on Friday.

Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services minister Tatenda Mavetera said this at the inaugural Internet of Things (IoT) Community Zimbabwe conference in the capital.

“The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing the way we live, work, and interact with technology. It is the interconnection of everyday objects with the internet, enabling them to send and receive data, communicate, and perform tasks autonomously.

“Effective governance frameworks are crucial to ensuring ethical use and security of IoT and AI technologies in Zimbabwe. The government of Zimbabwe is taking proactive steps to create an enabling environment for the growth of IoT technology. We are committed to implementing policies and strategies that will facilitate the adoption and deployment of IoT solutions across various sectors,” she said.

She said IoT had the potential to drive economic growth, improve efficiency, enhance productivity, and create new opportunities across various sectors. It has the power to transform industries such as agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and many others, she explained.

Mavetera said by connecting devices and enabling data-driven decision-making processes, IoT innovations have the potential to enhance efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness. She said Zimbabwe has recognized the immense potential of IoT which is the driving factor of the fourth Industrial Revolution and is committed to harnessing its benefits for the betterment of its citizens.

“From a policy perspective, the National ICT Policy launched by His Excellency, the President Dr E D Mnangagwa on 7 March 2024 at Somabhula, makes reference to the embracing of emerging technologies such as IoT,” said Mavetera.

“In addition, the analysis of existing policies governing these technologies is essential to identify gaps that need addressing to mitigate risks associated with data privacy breaches or misuse of advanced technological capabilities.”

Establishing robust governance mechanisms will foster trust among users and create an environment conducive to innovation without compromising ethical standards, she explained.

Mavetera said the government is investing in the development of digital infrastructure, which includes the expansion of broadband connectivity and the deployment of 5G networks, to provide the necessary foundation for IoT applications to thrive.

She said the government is also focusing on capacity building and skills development to ensure that the local workforce is equipped with the knowledge and expertise required to leverage IoT technology effectively.

“The government is actively engaging with industry stakeholders, academia, research institutions, and international organizations to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange. We encourage businesses, entrepreneurs, and innovators to explore the possibilities of IoT and leverage the support and resources available through the IoT Community,” she said. — New Ziana

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