Morgan Tsvangirai (Photo credit: biztechafrica.com)
Tsvangirai made the comments while addressing last week’s inaugural E-Tech Africa Conference and Expo, which was held at the Harare International Conference Centre over five days and ran under the theme "Exploiting the potential of ICTs for sustainable socio-economic transformation".
Consultation forums on the new policy review are being held in major towns across Zimbabwe.
"Policy issues are crucial if we are to make our ICT sector vibrant,” the prime minister said. “It is therefore my appeal to you stakeholders to take advantage of the review process and contribute meaningfully to it.”
He promised government support to tech firms in Zimbabwe as a means of promoting economic growth.
“Once ICT companies receive the necessary support from Government especially in supportive policies they will create new jobs and consequently bring about an improvement in the economic well-being of our people. It is essential that Zimbabwe has an enabling environment for ICT development and use,” he said.
Tsvangirai has identified Zimbabwe’s tech sector as a priority and said that the government was focusing on it as part of its Medium Term Plan, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other programmes looking to bring social change. He added that ICT had a role to play in driving societal transformation.
“The argument in our economic development policy is can we grow all the sectors at one time? The answer is No. Can we identify a sector that is going to spearhead economic development? Yes we can. I think that in identifying ICT to be at the forefront of spearheading other developments we will be developing the rest of the economy,” he said.
Tsvangirai’s comments were echoed by Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa, who said that Zimbabwe needed to reduce the cost of ICT services.
E-Tech Africa Conference and Expo saw many ICT firms, such as Econet, Telecel, Powertel and Zarnet, exhibit, while also hosting business seminars and expos on the potential of ICT for alleviation of poverty, e-government, cloud computing, health and education and cyber security. International exhibitors were also present.