THE Government through the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services will continue to play a role in ensuring equitable access to digital technologies for all citizens, including those in unserved and underserved areas.
Launching Sadza Community Information Centre in Hwedza recently, ICT Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere said: “I cannot overemphasise the importance of digital technology in our endeavour to bridge the digital divide.
My Ministry will continue to play a critical role in this transformation agenda by ensuring equitable access to digital technologies by everyone.
“I therefore would like to reiterate our commitment to addressing and reducing the barriers to technology and the digital divide through policies and programs that include disadvantaged groups and areas which remain marginalised and excluded from the benefits of digitalisation.
“We will therefore spare no efforts in our quest to roll out programmes aimed at ensuring the rural communities are kept abreast of the developments in the digital space.
“While it was critical for those in urban areas to be connected, this was now available. But mobile broadband is equally critical for rural areas to leverage economic, health and educational opportunities.”
“Community Information Centres bridge this gap by providing rural communities with a multi-sectoral digital environment which criss-crosses agriculture, health, industry and commerce, mining and even social issues that impact on families, especially peri-urban and rural families.”
He reiterated the importance of human capital as the nation progresses towards becoming a digital economy.
“If we are to make effective use of ICT and other emerging technologies as a country, the right skills and competencies must be in place at all levels. While it is true that the job market is shrinking for other disciplines, for those with skills in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning and blockchain, the job market is actually expanding.
“Growth in the sector can therefore only be achieved when we have a large pool of qualified personnel in the different spheres of the ICT industry. I therefore call to our youths to take up studies in the different disciplines of the ICT sector and to make use of the facilities we are commissioning to conduct research when doing their homework and when preparing for their examinations.”
He emphasised the need for the development of local content using local languages and dialects for the Community Information Centres to make the desired impact among the communities in which they are deployed.