This year’s International Telecommunications Union Telecom World 2017 was held in South Korea. ITU Telecom World is a not-for-profit neutral platform to accelerate ICT innovation for social and economic development through exhibiting solutions, sharing knowledge and networking.
The Minister of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Supa Mandiwanzira attended the event with a delegation and last year’s winner of best ICT innovator in Zimbabwe, Clive Nyapokoto, was part of that delegation.
Zimbabwe was bestowed with a Certificate of Excellence Award which was given to Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ.) The Zimbabwean government set up a $25m fund for local technology startups which is manged by POTRAZ. The fund targets ICT players and aims to provide funding for innovative solutions. It is because of this ICT Innovation drive that POTRAZ won the Certificate of Excellence Award.
The young Clive Nyapokoto, who is in his final year at Harare Institute of Technology won the local ICT Innovator award last year. It is because of this that he tagged along on the trip to South Korea. His solution which was judged to be the best in Zimbabwe last year also impressed the global judges at Telecom World 2017 which saw him get an accolade of excellency in providing and promoting innovative ICT solutions with social impact.
The solution which got Clive the recognition is called the VA system Vermi-Aquaponics. It is an integrated organic farming system which utilises animal waste in the provision of nutrients for plants. The system can be monitored and managed remotely through any internet enabled device.
Clive Nyapokoto ecstatic as he was for the recognition had this to say,
Though my project came out tops during the national category and now recognised by the World Telecoms body, I am aware and confident that most of the projects by other innovators in Zimbabwe are world class and can change the ICT sector
He is not wrong and the POTRAZ director-general Gift Machengete echoed similar sentiments as he called on other innovators to respond to the ICT Innovation drive and come up with their own solutions. He said,
The young innovator Clive has a very exceptional innovative product and the reason why we came with him and other innovators here was that their projects came out tops nationally and we felt they were competitive on the global arena. I urge other young Zimbabweans to take the ICT innovation drive seriously as we want to empower them because there is so much potential for innovation in many areas globally.
The government deserves the award because the ICT Innovation drive could not have come at a better time. The call is now for other innovators to take on the challenge. Funding is there for innovative solutions.