As tasked by the Ministry of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Postal and Courier Services, NetOne set up the Siyalima Base Station in the quest to improve service delivery and increase the national mobile penetration rate.
Honourable Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Dr. Jenfan Muswere, in his keynote address at the Siyalima Base Station commissioning in Guruve today, said his ministry fully facilitates ubiquitous connectivity through the provision of infrastructure and support systems.
He said towards achieving this same goal, NetOne has recently launched Phase Three of the National Mobile BroadBand Expansion Project (NMBB3) which will see 345 new base stations being built and installed to connect communities. ICTs access and utilization are poised to have a more profound impact on education and health care services, the management of energy resources, delivery of public transport, the manner in which government engages with the citizenry and above all, the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.
The Ministry of ICT and Courier Services’ mandate is to create an enabling environment and policies that facilitate the use of information technologies and communication solutions to improve the livelihoods of all Zimbabweans, regardless of location.
Through the National Development Strategy Number One (NDS 1), he said the Ministry will make sure there is improved access to ICTs at the village level while enabling the growth of the digital economy. This is aligned with the visionary leadership and commitment of President Mnangagwa to achieve universal access by 2030.
Dr. Muswere called on the Siyalima community to embrace the enhanced network coverage which will facilitate and promote farmers through knowledge transfer and acquisition as they engage in the trade of farm produce.
“The Ministry of ICT and Courier Services is here to ensure equitable access to ICTs by all citizens of Zimbabwe, including disadvantaged groups and rural communities. Please join me in acknowledging the Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Province, Honourable Monica Mavhunga for being an exemplary host in spearheading development within the province,” Dr. Muswere said.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Mashonaland Central, Honourable Monica Mavhunga said the base station will enable the use of ICTs at the community level by local farmers, small scale and established miners and mining companies; and at school since this has become a natural part of daily life.
“This is true in Zimbabwe and even for many all over the world. It is unthinkable that millions of people in developing countries remain disconnected from the digital world. Through the telecommunications giant NetOne, enhanced network coverage and communication solutions, are now at our doorstep.
“The Siyalima Base Station will bring with it many downstream benefits which we, as a province, will capitalise on as we develop. Improved network coverage will enable Siyalima irrigation scheme farmers in Ward One to communicate with Agritex extension workers while using online tools to find markets for farm produce such as potatoes, beans, soya beans, wheat and maize. Mining activities in chrome and nickel will benefit immensely from the base station deployed in this area as they will now be able to communicate using various technologies to enhance their operations and productivity,” Honourable Mavhunga said.
NetOne Acting Chief Executive Officer Mr. Raphael Mushanawani on the Commissioning of Siyalima Base Station said the infrastructure is important and strategic towards improving connectivity and communication for many in Mashonaland Central Province.
“Information Communication Technology (ICTs) is at the heart of the second Republic of Zimbabwe’s vision 2030 and National Development Strategy Goal Number 1 as an enabler for development, communication and business investment. It is without a doubt that indeed information communication technology is the backbone of the new normal. The nation and the world at large witnessed the critical role that information communication technology played when COVID-19 threatened to business to a halt.
“The world continued to function in a contact-less environment; business continued with its day to day operations, Government departments continued to provide the much-needed services through e-services. The health sector, education sector and the agriculture sector continued to provide services through e-health, e-learning and e-farming respectively. This was possible through the communication backbone infrastructure provided by NetOne. As a business NetOne has embraced its role in achieving the National Development Strategy Goal 1 that is to digitalize the economy through the use of information communication technologies. We are excited to be taking part in the provision of seamless information communication technology services,” Mr. Mushanawani said.
NetOne recently commissioned a USD71 million project which includes the construction of the wireless communication network, site energy provision, microwave transmission network, IP core network, network operation and maintenance system, and other supporting communication hardware and software facilities, and supporting engineering, throughout the country.
Mr. Mushanawani thanked the Government of the Second Republic of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Information Communication Technologies and Courier Services for facilitating funding for the project. He said the two-year Phase III project will see NetOne increasing its footprint through the installation of 345 base stations in all corners of Zimbabwe thereby providing nationwide access to ICTs to all Zimbabweans.
The Siyalima Base Station will bring with it many downstream benefits to irrigation farmers, miners and the entire community. Improved network coverage will enable Siyalima irrigation scheme farmers in Ward One to effectively communicate with Agritex extension workers and other agriculture support services. This will facilitate efficient planning and coordination of farming activities as well as access to markets for farm produce such as potatoes, beans, soya beans, wheat and maize using online tools.
Siyalima irrigation scheme which was commissioned by President Mnangagwa was recently named the best irrigation scheme in Mashonaland Central.
Mining activities in chrome and nickel will benefit immensely from the base station deployed in this area as they will now be able to communicate using various forms of technologies enhancing their operations and productivity. Ward 1, 8 and 22, have a combined population of 20 645 people who will benefit immensely from the expanded network coverage the NetOne has deployed in this area.
Lebanon Investments Mine, eleven Primary schools and two Secondary schools, Council offices, Health facilities, industry and commerce in Siyalima community will also benefit from improved network connectivity.
Everything now revolves around access to digital technology. This has become a backbone for national economies. Today NetOne is offering an opportunity for Siyalima and the nation at large to leapfrog into the attainment of ICTs connectivity access.
Access to information and effective participation in the digital economy is critical for improving the quality of life for all citizens.
NetOne continues to pride itself through increased service provision in previously marginalized areas, such as Siyalima. NetOne, the number one digital solutions network, is providing improved access to ICTs.
NetOne’s mobile financial service solution, One Money now offers a simple, convenient and hassle-free means of transacting. The improved network coverage witnessed here will facilitate the ease of doing business through NetOne’s products and services.
“We are optimistic that this base station will help take Mashonaland Central to the next step of its journey towards transforming its economy and society into a full-fledged e-economy and knowledge-based society in the foreseeable future. Siyalima base station surely marks the journey that NetOne is embarking on, the journey to reclaim its number one position as the network with the widest coverage and above all the flagship of state-owned enterprises.”
Dr. Gift Machengete, the Director-General of the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) said the move by NetOne was in line with the regulator’s mandate to see the entire country connected and to make Zimbabwe a digital-enabled country.
Tengenenge Primary, Horse Shoe Primary, Muroyiwa Primary, and Manyika Primary schools each got one laptop, while Horse Shoe Secondary, Siyalima Primary, and Kondo Primary School got a desktop computer each. NetOne also donated 1 000 books to the schools.