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– Herald

Cabinet has commended the significant strides being made by the country in developing the digital economy, which enhances efforts towards building an upper middle-income economy by 2030. 

This follows the recent official launch of the World Bank Digital Economy for Zimbabwe Country Diagnostic report, which has shown that the country has made notable progress in harnessing opportunity in the information communication technology (ICT) front.

The WB launched the Digital Economy for Africa Diagnostic Survey in 2018 to assist African countries to assess the stage they are at in building and running a digital economy.

The diagnostic report assesses Zimbabwe’s current position relative to other countries across the world, with the most advanced countries being categorised in the “advanced stage” and the least developed being classified “nascent stage”. 

The Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services, Dr Jenfan Muswere, presented the report before Cabinet on Tuesday.

In her post-Cabinet media briefing on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said in Zimbabwe, the survey gathered data from stakeholders across all social and economic sectors from 2018 to 2019, with a draft report having been presented for feedback in 2020 and the final report completed in 2021. 

“Highlights of the findings include that Zimbabwe is quite advanced in the digital financial services pillar, mainly due to the ubiquitous use of mobile money and online banking services,” said the minister. 

“Digital infrastructure was considered to be fairly advanced in terms of international connectivity but still lacking in internal connectivity, particularly in rural areas. 

“Cabinet notes that Zimbabwe has made remarkable progress since the Digital Economy for Africa Diagnostic Survey was conducted in 2018 to 2019.”

While the country has very high general literacy, Minister Mutsvangwa said specialised digital skills were deemed to be lagging behind technology. Digital Government platforms were considered to be improving rapidly even though lack of funding in previous years has meant that there is still large scope for further improvement. 

According to the report, digital entrepreneurship was assessed to be in its early stages and in need of greater funding for start-ups as well as for development of links between innovation centres and businesses in order to enable commercialisation of inventions. 

Minister Mutsvangwa said the report will assist in improving the country’s methodologies for defining the digital economy ideas, especially the metrics for measuring progress in the implementation of the National Development Strategy (NDS1) and definition of the relevant key performance indicators.

Developing a vibrant digital economy is a key pillar under NDS 1, which spans 2021 to 2025.

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