Zimbabwe is to allocate a significant sum of money to infrastructure improvement in the ICT sector over the coming year.
According to the website Biztechafrica, the country’s finance minister Mthuli Ncube recently announced that the government has allocated $89 million to the ICT sector and was making infrastructure improvement a top priority. He was speaking during a 2021 national budget presentation in Harare late last week.
The money, which will be invested in the sector during 2021, will, he said, mainly target rollout of optic fibre and digital television services as well as access to online public services by citizens.
Even though progress has been made for the past decade to improve the country’s ICT infrastructure, its digital economy is still lagging behind, mainly because of poor connectivity, Ncube said. Thus the government aims to facilitate deployment of broadband infrastructure and investments in last-mile connectivity by industry players that will, as he put it, “ensure affordable, accessible, ubiquitous and reliable ICT services that support an inclusive digital economy”.
Ncube said priorities will include the implementation of measures that create an enabling environment for private sector investment and full implementation of ICT infrastructure sharing, as well as a full roll out of an e-government programme.
The proposed ICT investment will be greeted warmly by end users and businesses but, given the country’s economic woes and associated planning issues, a detailed plan and timetable will no doubt also be welcome.