Knowledge in the use of information communication technology is now a basic need and an essential skill for productivity, Dr. Jenfan Muswere the Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services has said.
The Minister, in his keynote speech, while officially launching the Maranda Containerized Village Information Centre (CVIC) at Maranda in Mwenezi District, Masvingo Province today, made reference to the United Nations (UN) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), that contend that ICTs can help accelerate progress towards the attainment of each of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“ICTs contribute to SDGs in promoting inclusivity, sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation. Efficient and affordable ICT infrastructure and services allow countries to participate in the digital economy and to increase their overall economic well-being, competitiveness, digital inclusion, poverty reduction and improved health.
“As we launch this CVIC today, we should remember that knowledge in the use of ICTs is now a basic need and an essential skill for productivity. Research and Development in the use of ICTs are key and, in this respect, the Government has taken the necessary steps to facilitate Research and Development, through the establishment of these Community Information Centres (CICs), including CVICs, in order to motivate the development of homegrown solutions to our socio-economic challenges,” Minister Muswere said.
His counterpart in government, Honourable Ezra Chadzamira, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Masvingo Province expressed his heartfelt gratitude for ICT stakeholders led by the Ministry and mobile network providers like NetOne and Econet for partnering to get schools connected to the Internet, setting up Base Stations (popularly known as Boosters), as well as training members of the community in basic computer skills, and providing laptops to schools in Masvingo Province and countrywide.
Dr. Gift Machengete, the Director-General of the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRA) said the CVIC was poised to make it possible for villagers to apply for important necessities like identity documents (IDs) and children’s birth certificates, as well as acquiring death certificates of their dearly departed, thereby bringing convenience to their lives.
“That convenience, ladies and gentlemen, is coming. That convenience would be made possible through this very centre and others like it countrywide as Government has commenced processes towards the roll-out of the e-government project,” Dr Machengete said.
Apart from e-government services which are in the pipeline, the centre has so much more to offer considering that Internet surfing will be free of charge until 31 December 2021 and training will continue to be churned out for free into perpetuity, Dr Machengete said.
Through the CVIC, parents and pupils can access O’ Level results on the ZIMSEC Portal free of charge. Students can also proceed to apply for Form Five places on the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education online applications platform free of charge. Pupils and students can conduct online lessons from the site, again free of charge. Some university students are conducting their lectures online due to COVID -19 and can access their online lessons from the CVIC, in addition to conducting their academic research.
Maranda being a farming community, farmers can also benefit from the CVIC facility as they can research on best farming practices, pesticides to use, crops that best suit the area and market prices for their produce. All the information they may want is found on the Internet.
Dr Machengete paid tribute to the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Netone, Mr Raphael Mushanawani, for partnering with mobile telephony company, Econet to enable network sharing within a short space of time so that Maranda provides connectivity for both NetOne and Econet subscribers.