We finally received a copy of the ICT strategic plan from the ministry on ICT. Here it is:
We provide here a summary of the most significant strategic objectives for those of you too busy to read the whole document. We also note a few important issues at the end that we feel are lacking in the strategic plan.
Infrastructure establishment, development and management
- Develop broadband optic fibre links to all major cities and towns by December 2014
- Increase the national tele-density of Zimbabwe by 10% every year
- Increase the national mobile density of Zimbabwe by 20% every year
- Increase both the PC penetration rate and internet connectivity by 20% every year
Application and services development,
- Promote innovative locally developed applications and technology solutions through supporting the establishment of ICT SMEs and instituting an ICT achievers award program starting January 2010.
ICT Industry, investment, and partnerships
- Create new competitive business opportunities for the growth of the ICT industry through the development of a national incentive scheme for the ICT industry and promotion of large-scale assembly of electronic products by December 2010. Ensuring the establishment and implementation of at least 10 ‘Public Private Partnerships’ in the ICT sector by December 2014.
- The establishment of one Technopark per province starting January 2012.
Research and development
- Identify and promote national research projects in the ICT sector by December 2010
- Promote ICT technology transfer starting January 2010
Security and quality assurance frameworks
- Develop a national cyber security framework and strategy by December 2010
- Develop and monitor a national quality assurance framework for ICTs starting January 2011
- Ensure security on the cyber environment by monitoring and ensuring compliance with national laws on all ICT initiatives, e.g. software piracy, intellectual property rights starting August 2010.
- Promote awareness and advocacy for ICT literacy through conducting road shows, ICT workshops, exhibitions, and an ICT magazine.
- Develop and nurture sustainable human capital development in ICT skills by developing a national e-skills retention strategy by December 2010 and tapping ICT human resources in the Diaspora to increase their participation by at least 10% every year.
- Promote the implementation of mandatory ICT curricula at all schools and institutions of higher learning by January 2011.
E-government and e-business
- Develop an e-Government strategy by June 2010
- Develop and implement functional websites with communication portals for each government ministry by June 2010.
- Establish and link at least one community information centre in each province to government websites/portals for the provision of e-services by December 2011
- Promote the use of e-Business services and products to at least 20% of all services/product ranges for all public entities by January 2013 and 30% by January 2014
- To develop policies, legal frameworks and strategies that stimulate and promote the use of ICTs beginning January 2010
- Assist various sectors in developing sector ICT policies starting January 2010
- Mobilise adequate resources for the ministry by developing a resource mobilization plan for accomplishing the mandate of the Ministry by July 2010
Now, except for a few areas where we feel the strategic plan is lacking, the plan sounds and feels solid. But a plan being what it is, it doesn’t translate into any evident benefits until some active implementation work starts on the ground. If we manage to do half the things on the plan, we’d have gone a long way to becoming the “knowledge society” we aspire to be.
Some things we feel are missing from the plan:
- The plan doesn’t address the need to build the ICT skills capacity of Zimbabweans. The plan is clear on skills retention but vague on developing the skills to be retained. We feel that developing ICT human resources in a deliberate fashion is crucial to the success of this strategic plan. It is quite evident Zimbabwe lost an extremely high number of highly skilled and energetic professionals over the past 10 years. It is also quite clear that the capacity of our training institutions (trainers, training facilities, equipment etc…) was heavily reduced. We need to deal with these issues head on.
- The promotion of the use of open source software, especially by government departments and educational institutions. The key advantage of open source is freedom from vendor lock-in and the lower cost of the software, and as a country we need to utilise every opportunity we have to spend less. It’s common knowledge that software piracy is rampant in this country and therefore a problem we need to address!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the plan in the comments section below.