Telecommunications provider Huawei on Friday hosted its inaugural ICT Forum in Zimbabwe, aimed at revolutionizing the way the country responds to technological advancements and uses information technology systems to enhance its growth and development.
Dubbed “Broader Way 2014”, the Zimbabwe Public Sector ICT Forum was a joint initiative of the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services and Huawei Technologies, a global telecommunications and ICT solution provider. It ran under the theme ‘Leveraging ICTs for Economic Development’.
Delegates at the day-long conference discussed ways in which ICT platforms could be used to shape industrial development and make a real difference in the lives of Zimbabweans. Led by Huawei experts in information technology systems and with case studies of initiatives already undertaken in such places as South Africa, Angola and Tanzania, the delegates explored how to catalyse changes across different sectors utilising broadband solutions.
The timing of the forum was appropriate: Zimbabwe is in the throes of finalising its national ICT Policy, which is expected to form the backbone of its new economic blue print, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation (Zim Asset). Acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of ICT, principal director Cosmas Chigwamba, told the delegates that the policy would be ready “any time now” for approval by the country’s legislators.
The forum was officially opened by Zimbabwe’s Vice President Joice Mujuru, who hailed the partnership with Huawei and said the country was now ready to comprehensively develop its knowledge economy. “ICT one of the major pillars on which Zim Asset is anchored,” she said. “The hosting of this event is a realisation of the endless possibilities that ICTs can create across sectors, advancing economic growth and reducing poverty.”
Giving an introductory background overview of Huawei, Mr Ken, Vice President of Enterprise BG Marketing, pointed out that technology was influencing revolutionary changes across many sectors, including education, medicine and government.
“This is not just wishful thinking, broadband is here and the intention (of the forum) is to demonstrate what that means in practical terms,” Mr Ken told the delegates.“The world has gone digital; but there’s still a long way to go. Zimbabwe is an important market for Huawei and we are continuing to push to improve our reach to as many people as possible.”
In a presentation later to demonstrate ICT development influence on how to improve government efficiencies, Mr Ken illustrated Huawei operations in over 140 countries, where some 2,300 projects had been implemented successfully in such areas as e-government, public safety, e-tax management systems, e-agriculture services, e-health and e-education.