Zimbabwe is lagging behind information communication technology (ICT) global trends on the back of socio economic challenges despite boasting of vast opportunities in the sector.
High costs of materials, limited use of ICT gadgets, lack of education awareness on the sector, shortages of hard cash, failure by the majority to embrace electronic money transactions, inability to manufacture local softwares and poor ICT infrastructure are some of the factors that have constrained the ability of the nation to embrace modern ICT trends.
The world is embracing ICT systems in all sectors as part of efforts to embrace efficiency and attract investments that can generate employment, revenues and foster prosperity.
An ICT specialist, Mrs Jeane Makoni said hard cash challenges, high cost of materials and dependency on imported gadgets has exposed the nation’s limitations on ICT self sufficiency.
“When the systems do not work, we are all worried and it reflects shortcomings on the use of the data policies or models in Zimbabwe,” he said.
While the informal sector is dominating the economy, there is low uptake of ICT systems, and the situation is being worsened with continued dependency by most people on bank manual systems at the expense of mobile and electronic transaction platforms.
“ICT systems are still not decentralised to the majority including the rural areas, with most of the softwares always facing problems due to overuse and this is killing success of the sector in the use the ICT components,” a satellite tracking specialist, Mr Dimitri Diamond said.
He added that the absence of adequate infrastructure backups and facilities coupled with limited access to software education and knowledge systems is also stalling efforts for Zimbabwe to catch up with the rest of the world.
With the government reaffirming commitment to open business to the rest of the world, the need to solve problems impacting development of the ICT sector is a key element that now requires urgent attention.