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The Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services has been directed to have a relook at the National ICT Policy before presenting it to Cabinet.

Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said this while opening the third e-Tech Africa exhibition recently.

“You might all be aware that validation workshops have previously been held on this National ICT Policy as well as attempts to submit it to Cabinet.

“But we have, however, been given a directive to get more input from you ladies and gentlemen,” said the minister

He also highlighted that the ICT policy should address some contentious issues and lay a proper framework on the way forward.

“This policy we are gathered here to finalise should create conditions that encourage all stakeholders to work together to improve access to ICT infrastructure and technologies as well as to information and knowledge.

“It should also build capacity, increase confidence and security in the use of ICTs, create an enabling environment at all levels, develop and widen ICT applications, foster and respect cultural diversity, recognise the role of the media, address the ethical dimensions of the Information Society and encourage international and regional cooperation,” he said.

The minister said issues of concern included infrastructure sharing, quality of service, consumer satisfaction, standardisation, spectrum management, raising the visibility of ICT-funded research results, support projects’ access to markets and encourage uptake of innovations.

Other issues include raising awareness of Zimbabwe’s ICT programmes and activities and providing proper governance and support for effective ICT development and utilisation.

“Your finalisation of the National ICT Policy is very timeous as ICT is in fact one of the major pillars on which the ZimAsset strategic document is anchored,” said Minister Mandiwanzira.

The minister called for an ICT policy approach that not only recognises but also elevates the strategic importance of ICTs which will enable the nation to master the ongoing transformation in the most aantageous way and thereby enable a distinct and sustainable productive shift in the economy in line with ZimAsset.

The ICT policy is coming against the background of the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva (2003) that provided the global vision, objectives and the action plan of the Information society.

The Geneva Declaration encourages nations to prioritise ICT Policy formulation. Taking into account the concerns expressed at the WSIS Geneva Agenda and commitments of the WSIS Tunis Agenda, the ICT Policy should aim at harnessing the potential of ICT to promote the development goals of the Millennium Declaration by using ICT as a powerful instrument for increasing productivity, fostering economic growth, generating jobs and employability and improving the quality of life of all.

It also encourages the use of ICT as a tool for women’s empowerment and their full participation on the basis of equality in all spheres of society and in all decision-making processes. This, however, can only be made possible through commitment by all stakeholders, partnership and co-operation among governments and other stakeholders, i.e. the private sector, civil society and international organisations calling for digital solidarity, both at national and international levels.

The writer is the editor for Zimbabwe’s Premiere Technology Magazine, More In depth from www.technomag.co.zw on http:technom.aggn follow us on Tweet at TechnoMagZw follow us on http:www.facebook.comtechnomagzw

Source : The Herald