Africa Urged to Embrace ICTs

African economies can fully derive maximum value from their resources if they embrace the use of information technology, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda has said. Speaking during the launch of Twenty Third Century Systems’ Africa Graduate Trainee Programme in Harare yesterday, Dr Sibanda said the world was in the era of “knowledge economy” that is characterised by the pervasive influence of ICTs.
Twenty Third Century Systems is an indigenous Zimbabwean IT company whose training programme targets graduates from tertiary institutions in Africa with a view of sharpening their skills for them to deliver business solutions across the continent using ICTs.
“The impact of ICTs on all aspects of human endeavour in the current dispensation are all too clear,” Dr Sibanda said.
“Through ICTs, the world has become one global marketplace of knowledge, ideas, goods and services. ICTs have compressed space and time, causing those countries on the right side of the technological divide to leapfrog in terms of development, over those that lag behind in the adoption of the technologies.”
He said governments that applied ICTs had increased operational efficiencies as they minimised human error and reduced the risk of corruption.
“The application of ICTs has enabled governments to obviate the challenge of bureaucratic red tape and to foster transparency, accountability and responsiveness, which are the key pillars of effective service delivery,” he said.
“It thus suffices to say that ICTs offer boundless opportunities for success through innovation. The fast-paced ICT-drive business processes, together with the accompanying intense competition in the global marketplace, enjoins us to place a huge premium on the development of skills and expertise in the use of ICTs.”
Dr Sibanda said it was time Africa erased the stigma of being synonymous with socio-economic backwardness and perpetual poverty.
“We either innovate or be condemned to economic backwardness,” he said.
“The Zimbabwean Government has already embarked on an aggressive drive to introduce ICTs in its processes but alone it cannot effectively drive the technology revolution.
“There is need for collaborative partnerships with the private sector and the development partners.
“By so doping we will be able to move forward with vigour in the implementation of our economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.”
Graduates from the training programme, Dr Sibanda said, should take a lead in the process of developing business innovations in their respective countries.
The programme has seen graduate trainees from Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Uganda participating.
TTCS chief executive Mr Elman Chanakira said Africa needed great transformation and ICTs were central in realising that change.