Business Development Science and Technology

Zimbabwe’s Mobile Broadband Phase III Project: Increasing access to connectivity

President Mnangagwa in the company of Minister Muswere, Huawei and NetOne senior officials at the launch of Mobile Broadband Phase III Project

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson  Mnangagwa has said that Mobile Broadband (MBB) Phase III Project would not have come at a better time than this.

He made the remarks yesterday in a speech delivered on his behalf by Vice President, Dr.Constantiono Chiwenga during the launch of Zimbabwe’s Mobile Broadband Phase III Project.

The President explained that the project is expected to set Zimbabwe on the path to building a strong digital economy and improving the commerce through offering of many offline services. He commended applauded Zimbabwe-China ties stating that it is through the long-standing mutual relationship that has made it possible for the two countries to accomplish various projects together.

“We are all aware that Zimbabwe and China have a long-standing mutual relationship and have since then cooperated on so many projects. In the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, and Chinese firms such as Huawei have over the past decades provided equipment to Zimbabwe’s network providers. The MBB will be rolled out country-wide and as Government, our mandate is to ensure the access and utilisation of information communication technologies to improve the livelihoods of all Zimbabweans, irrespective of location” President Mnangagwa said.

Through its strategic partnership with Huawei and Net-one, Zimbabwe has so far completed two major mobile broadband projects in phase I and II, with phase III expected further increase connectivity and access to unserved areas, improving Zimbabwe’s prospects of building a strong digital economy that supports e-commerce among other benefits.

With phases I and II already commissioned, there has been a service coverage with an improved network from 75% to 85% in tentative terms. Phase III is projected to further increase Zimbabwe’s connectivity, transforming it into a much more competitive digital economy.

There is a myriad of benefits in growing internet accessibility and access. Broadband connectivity directly supports millions of jobs through the mobile ecosystem including informal jobs. Access to broadband is critical for mitigating the effects of the pandemic and boosting economic recovery in the post-Covid era. With changes in people’s behaviours and mindsets, broadband will also continue to provide opportunities for Zimbabwe to overcome obstacles and move to a more sustainable and inclusive social-economic development.

President Mnangagwa is of the view that one of the cardinal benefits of the project to Zimbabwe’s economy is that it will strengthen the capability to deliver public service through digital means.

“The Mobile Broadband Phase III Project will further boost our capacity to scale up online public service offerings through nationwide network expansion. It will also support the building of other necessary ICT infrastructure required to enable Zimbabwe to rip the social and economic benefits of technology” the President said.

 

Speaking at the same event, the Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr. Guo Shaochun reiterated the significance of China-Zimbabwe bilateral cooperation on so many fronts.

Ambassador Shaochun said through cooperation, China successfully completed many significant projects to support Zimbabwe to develop high-tech industry, such as High-Performance Computer Center, National Data Centre, First ICT Factory, and so on.

He added that the project being launched will enable every Zimbabwean to get access to the Internet, adding that China and Zimbabwe will continue to explore further cooperation in various fields, achieving the goal of setting up and strengthening all-dimensional, multi-tiered, and composite connectivity networks, especially infrastructure connectivity, and realizing diversified, independent, balanced and sustainable development.

“As we know, the digital economy is attached great importance as one of the most powerful locomotives to boost the country’s economy. I believe all these cooperation programs in the high-tech industry are in line with the National Development Strategy I and Vision 2030, and will surely improve Zimbabweans’ well-being. China and Zimbabwe will continue to explore further cooperation in various fields, and realizing diversified, independent, balanced and sustainable development.” Ambassador Shaochun said.

Huawei Regional Director, Phil Li said Huawei remains committed to its vision and mission of bringing digital connectivity to every person, organization for a fully connected and intelligent society. Increasing connectivity, improving education and health care services, connecting the unconnected remains Huawei’s lynchpin goal.

He commended Net-one for demonstrating unwavering commitment to the project as Huawei’s strategic partner. Mr. Li explained that two partners will devote all their resources and expertise and ensure a win-win result for all stakeholders involved.

“I would also like to express my gratitude to my strategic partner Net-One for the long-standing support and trust, we will devote all our resources and expertise to make you believe that your trust will turn to business success as always,” Huawei Regional President said.

In appreciation of the partnership, Dr. Jenfan Muswere, the Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services said Huawei has been present in Zimbabwe for over 24 years and has contributed to the development and success of many ICT projects, including various skills transfer and ecosystem development programs.

“As the ICT Ministry, we appreciate the work that Huawei is doing to improve the ICT sector. In all three MBB projects, Huawei has been instrumental in offering technical expertise as well as building the infrastructure alongside Net-one. I look forward to such synergies as the ICT sector is the engine for sustainable economic growth,” Dr. Muswere told Spiked Online Media.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende