Information Communication Technology has emerged as one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, statistics from the International Communications Union have shown.
Zimbabwe was ranked 128 out of 152 countries in 2008 and over the past three years managed to jump four places to 124.
ICT development is largely driven by the telecommunication sector, which has seen voice penetration rate or tele-density reaching 68 percent in 2011.
Mobile penetration accounted for 65 percent, making Zimbabwe one of the countries with the highest rates alongside South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique.
However, the Internet penetration rate at around 13 percent, remains below the international levels of 26,6 percent, although above the regional average of 11 percent.
Cumulatively, the country’s three mobile service providers share close to 8,1 million subscribers, up from 7,7 million last year.
In recognition of the importance of ICTs, the Government created a fully-fledged ministry of ICT and all sectors of the economy have embraced ICT to increase production, efficiency and market share.
The ministry has also come up with an ICT policy that seeks to develop broadband optic fibre links to all major cities and towns by December 2014.
The policy is also expected to increase the national tele-density of Zimbabwe by 10 percent every year, increase the national mobile density of Zimbabwe by 20 percent every year and increase both the PC penetration rate and Internet connectivity by 20 percent every year.
ICTs development has also impacted positively on the services sector.
The incidence of e-commerce and mobile banking is an exciting ICT development for the country, which together with the coming of full 3G technology will revolutionise business practices in Zimbabwe.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, in his 2012 National Budget presentation, said tribute ought therefore be paid to banks and mobile phone companies for their paternity to this unequalled progeny.
Going forward, the Zimbabwe ICT sector is expected to continue to grow, following strong Government interest in ICTs, evidenced by the President’s schools computerisation programme.
Availability of training from local companies is high and most people are expected to embrace ICTs.
Government, in partnership with the private sector, mainly the service providers, has invested heavily in ICT infrastructure.
There has been low infrastructure development during the hyperinflationary environment. This has not contributed significantly to the Gross Domestic Product.
During the same period the sector was hit by a serious skills flight.
ICT projects have also been affected by power deficiencies as most rural schools are yet to be electrified.
Source: All Africa.Com – 23 Dec 2011