Government aims to transform the nation through digital empowerment

By Joyce Mukucha

The Government of Zimbabwe has a goal of expediting the growth of smart sustainable technologies so as to influence how future cities will be modelled around the key pillars of the Paris Agreement for the maintenance of a green environment and economy, Miriam Chikukwa, the Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province has said.

Speaking as the guest of honour as she launched the Zimbabwe Smart Sustainable Cities (ZSSC) initiative on the 21st of March 2018 in Harare, Minister Chikukwa said it was relevant to note that new physical sustainable cities were indeed attainable within the country’s lifetime.

The idea of the initiative is meant to make technologies accessible as well as keeping the cities and everything in all facets of life well-connected. During launch of the National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the 14th of March 2018, President Mnangagwa highlighted government’s desire to transform the country into a knowledge-based economy through digital empowerment.

“The concept of smart sustainable cities entails intelligent use of digital information in urban governance, the delivery of health care services, energy use, education, mobility and knowledge transfer. The Zimbabwean Government under the new dispensation led by Cde E.D Mnangagwa has outlined the Vision 2030, which among other issues, sets goals and targets to see our country’s economy developing to a middle income,” said Minister Chikukwa.

She pointed out that the ZSSC would positively be a vital element of the efforts to bring the ICT policy into life. She added that the initiative’s aspiration was to alleviate poverty as well as adopt a phased approach towards the creation of smart sustainable urban, rural villages, high density areas and peri-urban centres.

“I therefore urge all stakeholders to play your expected roles so that we can make this worthwhile initiative come to fruition. This initiative is not only for Harare Provinces. There is need to examine the nature and use of technological tools by citizens, civil society, government and the private sector,” she said.

Tawanda Mushawedu, the Founder and Chief Strategist of (ZSSC) said it was important for Zimbabwe to replicate the good works of other European countries in as far as development and up keeping of smart and sustainable cities of the nation was concerned.

“We want to see Zimbabwe becoming a city of excellence or a world class nation by 2030. We want to promote efficient connections. The skylines of other countries like Dubai are changing whilst Zimbabwe is stagnant. Therefore, we want this initiative to include everyone and plan for the future.

“For the sake of progress, we are lobbying Government and different stakeholders so to start to discuss serious matters and ensure that there is achievement. I urge everyone to give support in this initiative in order to end up with cities with orderliness and cleanliness,” he said.

Mushawedu said there was need to fill in the gaps for competence development and this would be achieved through policies and practical solutions. He said for Zimbabwe to attract and convince investors, there was need to do more research so that bankable projects would be created.

Speaking at the same event, Father Fidelis Mukonori, SJ, Chishawasha Mission Superior and Executive Director for Peace Initiative in Africa emphasised that there was still more which needed to be done in creating sunshine cities in Zimbabwe.

He said the environment people are living in is not hygienic and he said there was no order and cleanliness as well. Father Mukonori appealed to Minister Chikukwa to approach other government officials in ensuring that there would be change in the country that would be advantageous to the future generations.