Internet key to economic development

By Staff Writer | 17 Mar 2019 at 10:02hrs
IN the article, "The great transformer: The impact of the Internet on economic growth and prosperity" (2011) James Manyika and Charles Roxburgh seek to explain the influence of Information Communication Technology in economic development.

They argue that the internet is changing the way we work, socialise, create and share information, and organise the flow of people, ideas, and things around the globe.

"Yet the magnitude of this transformation is still under-appreciated. The Internet accounted for 21 percent of the GDP growth in mature economies over the past five years.

"In that time, we went from a few thousand students accessing Facebook to more than 800 million users around the world, including many leading firms, who regularly update their pages and share content. While large enterprises and national economies have reaped major benefits from this technological revolution, individual consumers and small, upstart entrepreneurs have been some of the greatest beneficiaries from the Internet's empowering influence.

"As a result, governments, policy makers, and businesses must recognise and embrace the enormous opportunities the internet can create, even as they work to address the risks to security and privacy the internet brings.

"As the internet's evolution over the past two decades has demonstrated, such work must include helping to nurture the development of a healthy internet ecosystem, one that boosts infrastructure and access, builds a competitive environment that benefits users and lets innovators and entrepreneurs thrive, and nurtures human capital. Together these elements can maximise the continued impact of the internet on economic growth and prosperity."

It has been proven that the internet is a major driver for economic growth as it has become a day-to-day reality for more than a quarter of the world's people. More than two billion people are connected to the internet, and almost US$8 trillion exchange hands each year through e-commerce.

It is behind that background that the commissioning of the US$23,6 million National Backbone Fibre Link in Beitbridge by President Mnangagwa last week was a major milestone. The project is set to boost the country's Information Communication Technology capacity and status as a regional communications hub. The link connects Beitbridge with Bulawayo, Harare, Masvingo and the rest of the country using underground cables.

It will also reduce TelOne operating costs by 40 percent and the benefit is expected to cascade to consumers.

Funded by the China Export and Import Bank, the fibre link was constructed by TelOne and Chinese company Huawei Technologies. President Mnangagwa reiterated that the initiative will turn Zimbabwe into a land-linked country, shaking off the landlocked tag.

"This project is undoubtedly set to have a far-reaching impact towards the attainment of our national vision as it relates to ICT where we envisage having Internet access at village level by 2030. It will enhance our country's land-linked status as it efficiently connects us with the rest of the world.

By embracing technology and connectivity, we are embracing the future, and giving our people the best opportunities to thrive in the modern economy," said President Mnangagwa.

"We note with pride that the establishment of these fibre links has completed the connectivity of Zimbabwe with our neighbouring countries, specifically South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia.

The link will also provide transit services that enable Sadc members connecting to the whole world through a robust fibre network."



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