‘Invest in Zim media space’ Minister Mutsvangwa with other panelists

Africa Moyo in NEW DELHI, India

Indian companies should consider taking up investment opportunities in the Zimbabwean media landscape, including the supply of transmitters, setting up newsprint plants and the digitisation programme, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said yesterday.

She was speaking during a side event at the ongoing 18th Confederation of India Industry-Exim Bank Conclave here.

The event was held under the topic: “Partnering on technology to enable digital transformation”. It was addressed by a number of panellists drawn from India and some African countries.

Minister Mutsvangwa said India had become a giant in technological development and Zimbabwe stands to gain through collaboration and partnerships with technology firms from India.

“There is a greater scope for partnership in digital sound broadcasting as we migrate from analogue. Our analogue has reached saturation point and the solution hinges on migrating to digital sound broadcasting, which provides extra spectrum since it is in the digital format,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

“This is why we started the digitisation programme in Zimbabwe to ensure we move with the changing technological times that call for the digitisation of systems and in the media; the survival of the broadcasting sector hinges hugely on digital transformation.

“We have made great strides to digitise our systems, although of course much still needs to be done and this is why we take this conclave seriously by ensuring our participation every year.”

SADC is pushing for digital sound broadcasting which offers more services, good broadcasting quality and also enables cooperation.

As such, Minister Mutsvangwa said India could assist in the form of transmitters and receivers so that Zimbabwe can commence the testing of digital sound broadcasting.

“The envisaged outcome of this technological partnership is that it enhances universal access to broadcasting services to remote communities,” she said.

“In the last couple of years, we have licensed a number of community and campus radio stations which are mostly located in rural areas. These radio stations are vehicles of development as they play a critical role in the dissemination of information.

“The partnership and cooperation with India will put Zimbabwe on a higher pedestal as we stand to benefit from digital transformation, capacity building, skills transfer, training and technological exchange programmes.”

Partnership in technology to enable digital transformation is in sync with Zimbabwe’s transformative economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy 1, especially the thematic area of transforming Zimbabwe into a digital economy.

Some people often said “digital is the future”, but Zimbabwe believes technology is moving “at a supersonic speed that digital is the now and no economy worth its name can survive without embracing technology”.

Without adopting technology quickly, Minister Mutsvangwa said, economies will die.

“Technological advancements bring businesses and markets closer,” she said.

“Digital transformation creates new or modifies existing business processes and customer experience to meet the changing business and market requirements.”

“India has made huge strides in the area of technology and as such, for us seeking partnership and cooperation with Indian firms, it isn’t a misplaced priority.”

The Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has adopted a policy of engagement and re-engagement, said Minister Mutsvangwa.

The policy’s thrust is to leverage relations with all friendly countries such as India, attract and secure investments as well as cooperation in order to grow and transform the economy into an empowered and prosperous upper-middle income society by 2030 and being able to effectively participate in the global economic affairs.

Minister Mutsvangwa said as Information Minister, she was mandated with playing a critical role of informing and educating the society on Government programmes, policies, project positive image for Zimbabwe as well as creating an enabling environment for the media to thrive.

“I call upon the Indian business partners to explore various opportunities abound within the media sector which also include: partnerships in the establishment of technologically-powered media news houses, and investment in digitisation, with focus on outside broadcasting units and satellite uplinks,” she said.

Other investors can consider supplying receivers for digital television services, and the establishment of community radio and television stations.

Zimbabwe and India enjoy close and cordial relations dating back to the 17th century when they traded in minerals, metals and textiles.

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