Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technologies has put forward a request for 200 hectares of land to develop a Zimbabwean Silicon Valley at the new town centre in Mount Hampden from Government.
ZICT, which is a division of the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers, in the proposal says that investing in an ICT-centric innovation hub will yield great economic benefits.
In the position paper seen by The Herald Business yesterday, ZICT is proposing a public private partnership model in building innovation techno-hubs in Zimbabwe’s provinces in a sequential manner.
“To achieve this, ZIE requests Government of Zimbabwe through the Local Government to allocate land for the development of an Innovation Techno-Hub in the proposed ‘new capital city’ in the Mount Hampden area.
“Subsequently this initial techno-hub will be a model for the development of affiliated provincial innovation hubs. Furthermore, ZICT proposes the use of the Private, Public Partnership model for the development of the Innovation Techno-hub,” said ZICT in the position paper.
ZICT said it is cognisant of Government’s enunciation of the National Policy for Information and Communication Technology in support of setting up an Innovation Hub.
The purpose of the paper is to advocate for the enhancement of the adoption of ICT as the engine for economic growth through the use of Innovation Techno-hubs, among other things.
Under the proposed project Government will contribute land for the construction of the Innovation Techno-hub estimated to be about 200 hectares.
ZICT will lead the sourcing of funds from local and international ICT private, public and Non-Governmental Organisations partners to fund clustered facilities, functionalities and technology infrastructure.
Zimbabwe currently ranks low at number 133 /145 on the Global Innovation Index as reported in the 2015 Global Innovation Index Report.
“In order for Zimbabwe to catch up in the innovation ranking there is need to invest in the input side of the GII model and build up on factors such as human capital and research and Infrastructure, among other things.
“This would in turn result in improving the Innovation output side due to evidenced by a rise in technology exports,” said ZICT.
“ZICT therefore proposes a collaborative PPP in promoting investments in human capital and R and D through the science, technology, engineering and mathematics educational institutions, and infrastructure input pillars through ICT innovation techno-hubs.”
According to the GII Report, the Infrastructure input pillar embeds the ICTs sub-pillar, which includes ICT access, ICT use, online service by Governments, and online participation of citizens.
“ZICT would like to engage the Government of Zimbabwe to dialogue on the basis of this paper in order to come up with a framework for the development of the initial Innovation Techno-Hub,” said ZICT.