The Zimbabwean government has said that the National Data Centre Project will be complete soon. The project is said to be 95% complete which and Dr Jenfan Muswere (the Deputy Minister of ICT) also encouraged other “ICT Stakeholders” to consider the issue of data centres more seriously.
The Chairperson of the Data Centre Africa, Dunny Derera said the government said their organisation is ready to partner with the Zim government to effectively implement the ICT Policy:
We are keen to work with the Zimbabwean government in the implementation of the national ICT policy and it is our view that we need to come up with home grown solutions in addressing some of our challenges
What would the government use the data centre for?
It’s quite interesting to see that the government is pushing for more data centre’s and you may be wondering why this is the case? Well, one of the answers can come from Ireland who began a similar project early last year and among their reasons for doing so they justified the move as follows:
Data centre presence in Ireland raises Ireland’s visibility internationally as a technology-rich, innovative economy. This, in turn, places Ireland on the map as a location of choice for a range of sectors and activities that are increasingly reliant on digital capabilities including manufacturing, financial services, animation, retail and global business services.[Later on in the same passage]
Employment in data centres are high value jobs, and although the numbers directly employed in data centres is relatively low at 1,8003 they stimulate additional economic activity. Many entities that have invested in data centres here have doubled their employment since 2010.
…Aside from the 1,900 or so workers involved each year in the construction of data centres here, according to the Construction Industry Federation, our Irish owned construction firms now compete effectively on international markets and generate a further 6,600 jobs through overseas activities
This passage covers many of the reasons why data centres are important to many countries. They create employment, and the countries that are known as tech havens are known to attract the biggest tech companies and have tech ecosystems like the ones we see in South Africa and Kenya. More employment, good PR for the government, more production in the economy and so on and so forth. This all aligns pretty well with the plans to make Zimbabwe a middle-income economy by 2030 as the President has claimed many-a-time.[Update 27/2/19]: The Deputy Minister of ICT, Dr Jenfan Muswere, disclosed what the Data Centre will be used for:
The National Data Centre is expected to consolidate services, applications and infrastructure to provide efficient electronic delivery of Government to Government(G2G), Government to Citizens(G2C) and Government to Business(G2B) services.
The National Data Centre has been identified as one of the important elements of the core infrastructure for supporting e-Governance initiatives. By having an NDC the government of Zimbabwe will create its own private cloud that will be easy to manage and secure because everything will be run by the government. This NDC project resonates well with the national agenda of becoming a middle-income nation by 2030
The Deputy Minister also disclosed that the National Data Centre will be complete by December of this year.