Zimbabwe joins Smart Africa Alliance

By Staff reporter | 09 Aug 2019 at 09:18hrs
Zimbabwe's re-engagement drive under President Mnangagwa's administration continues to gain traction, with the country becoming a member of the Smart Africa Alliance this week.

Smart Africa is a bold and innovative commitment from African Heads of State and Government to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development on the continent, ushering Africa into a knowledge economy through affordable access to broadband and usage of ICTs.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame is Smart Africa board chair.

The organisation's director-general Mr Lacina Kone announced on Monday Zimbabwe's entry into the club.

"I'm very delighted today to inform you that the Republic of Zimbabwe is the latest to join as the 26th member of the alliance. The announcement was made during the India-Africa ICT Expo 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda.

"Please allow me to recognise Honourable Minister Kazembe Raymond, the Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services, who has played an influential role in joining the alliance," said Mr Kone.

He said Zimbabwe joins Smart Africa at a time when work is underway to transform the continent into a single digital market.

The Smart Africa Secretariat expressed "deep appreciation" for the "tremendous accomplishment" Zimbabwe has achieved in the agriculture sector "In this regard, we would be honoured to see Zimbabwe championing the e-agriculture flagship and/ or any other potential flagship projects on our strategic vision," said Mr Kone.

Minister Kazembe, who led the Zimbabwe delegation at the India-Africa ICT Expo 2019, told the ministerial roundtable that to ensure the digital economic era was inclusive, there was need for different countries to focus and specialise in their areas of strength "so that there is no duplication".

"We must work as one big family of Africa. For us to have our own Alibaba, we must be borderless and look at Africa as one village," he said. Minister Kazembe said the biggest challenge faced in Africa was about infrastructure gaps.

"Whilst some are talking of artificial intelligence, virtual intelligence, we in Africa are still working on accessibility, hence inclusivity is affected. "Governments have to focus on ensuring that there is broadband in every home as it has a huge impact on the GDP."

The World Bank estimates that by 2032, the impact of 5G in sub-Saharan Africa will be US$30 billion.

Minister Kazembe said to bridge the digital gap, Zimbabwe has deployed towers in the marginalised areas, and installed 20 000km of fibre to ensure every village have access to Internet through the deployment of Community Information Centres through the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz).



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