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Zimbabwe: Time for Zim, SA to Elevate Economic Ties
South Africa is Zimbabwe's biggest trading partner and statistics are there to confirm that. South Africa and Zimbabwe are run by governments formed from liberation movements who won independence after protracted armed struggles against colonisers and history has that memory.
South Africa and Zimbabwe share a long border along the Limpopo River and have huge populations that share the same languages and culture either side of the border.
South Africa and Zimbabwe, therefore, share a lot in common, making it necessary for the two countries to keep their socio, economic, cultural and political antennae in sync.
It is laudable, therefore, that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives in Harare today for the Bi-National Commission, which will be also attended by his Zimbabwean counterpart, President Mnangagwa. The BNC is expected to deepen and strengthen relations between the two countries and unlock critical value for sustainable development.
Statistics show that in 2018 alone, South Africa exported to Zimbabwe goods and services amounting to about US$2,1 billion while Zimbabwe exported goods and services averaging US$250 million. These figures point to serious trade and, therefore, need a more systematic and coherent approach between the two governments.
It is critical for these two countries to ring-fence their existing relations and also come up with new agreements from the social, political, economic and cultural perspectives.
The new agreements should capture the fast changing social, political and economic fundamentals so that their relationship remains relevant and viable to the needs of their people.
The issue of the Beitbridge Border Post should take centre stage as it is one of the biggest inland ports of entry, whose business tentacles spread across the region.
The two countries are expected to upgrade the border post while at the same time looking at ways of revamping the National Railways of Zimbabwe, which, when fully operational, will give good credence to the transportation of bulk goods between the two countries and beyond.
To date, the two countries sit on 45 agreements signed in previous bilateral engagements and these need to be improved on and to be fully operationalised.
It is hoped that sitting on agreements without fully implementing them should be a thing of the past, as the two countries forge ahead with giving more depth and meaning to their relationship.
The good thing is that there is equal zeal in both camps to make things happen for the two neighbours for the benefit of their populace.
This BNC will go into the history books of the two countries as the best ever thing to happen between the two countries in modern times.
CIO EAST AFRICA
By Humphrey Odhiambo
The Government of Kenya has plans to announce a multi-stakeholder National Broadband Council to coordinate implementation of its new National Broadband Strategy (NBS) 2023 that takes into account the recent technological, industry trends and market realities.
With support from National Communication Secretariat tasked to monitor and evaluate deployment of NBS 2023, the council is expected to facilitate connection that will create opportunities for smart solutions that will help in transforming Kenyans’ everyday life, their common creativity, the development of business ideas, regardless of their location and thus enable societal and economic benefits of digital transformation.
In an executive summary in the NBS Interim Report, Joseph Mucheru, Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary notes that in collaboration with the private sector and development partners, the Government intends to leverage broadband to deliver its Vision 2030 flagship projects as well as the Big Four Agenda, encompassing delivery of food security, universal healthcare, affordable housing and manufacturing.
“By implementing NBS 2023, the government aims to increase access to broadband coverage of 3G to 94 percent of the population by 2020, increase digital literacy in schools to 85 percent, and expand broadband to the 47 counties and purposely to have 50 percent digital literacy amongst the workforce,” said Mucheru.
To implement the strategy, the proposed multi-stakeholder National Broadband Council shall have the responsibility of coordinating and implementing the NBS 2023 with the support of a monitoring and evaluation that will be done by the National Communication Secretariat.
The robust monitoring and evaluation framework with timelines for deliverables will be prepared and publicized to guide in the tracking of the implementation stated the cabinet secretary.
Confident that NBS 2023 will usher in an era of coordinated investments in national ICT infrastructure, the Ministry of ICT has made the deliberate move to eliminate unnecessary duplication of investments and thus ensure optimal use of resources in the sector.
An important leap towards avoiding any duplication was the involved of various industry players in putting together the NBS interim report.
The process of formulating this Strategy has according to the Mucheru given the ICT Ministry the opportunity to take stock of past successes and failures. Through the process, the Ministry has also envisioned the strategic objectives for the future while at the same time appreciating the rapidly evolving ICT landscape, said the Cabinet Secretary.
“The strategic themes adopted in this Strategy reinforce our broadband vision, namely, to be a globally competitive knowledge-based society enabled by broadband,” said Mucheru adding: “It complements, among others, the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as we embark on the next phase of the Vision 2030 journey – the Medium Term Plan III (MTP) (2018–2022) and the implementation of Kenya’s Big Four Agenda.”
While appealing, to all industry players to embrace broadband as the key to a true knowledge-based economy, Mucheru said the implementation of the Strategy, will ensure that various agencies identified in the respective action areas of NBS 2023 will benefit the societal and economic benefits owing to digital transformation.
In a bid to harness the synergies and inter-linkages prominent in digital landscapes towards digital transformation, Mucheru appealed to various industry players identified in the proposed action areas to execute the strategy.
Mucheru expressed optimism asserting that with that with the envisaged partnerships and collaboration of all stakeholders, the objectives the government aspires to accomplish will ultimately translate into milestones that will in fullness of time be attributed to collective efforts.