By Elita Chikwati
Information Communication Technology and Courier Services Minister Kazembe Kazembe, who is attending the 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference in Dubai, yesterday endorsed the candidature of Zimbabwean telecommunication expert Dr Cosmas Zavazava for the post of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), director telecommunications development bureau.
ITU is a specialised agency of the United Nations and one of the many players working with partners to connect the world.
The Plenipotentiary conference is held every four years to allow the ITU to set its strategic direction, finances, leadership and to make any changes needed to the organisation’s constitution and convention.
In his presentation at the conference, Minister Kazembe said the conference was a landmark occasion where member states take stock of their achievements towards the Vision 2020 and whose outcomes will map our aspirations towards the attainment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
He said the year 2030, was a watershed year for Zimbabwe as the country had also set a goal of attaining upper middle-income status.
Minister Kazembe said Dr Zavazava was Zimbabwe’s candidate for the post of director telecommunications development bureau.
“Dr Zavazava, is a diligent, versatile, and humble man. He speaks several languages and has vast diplomatic experience within and outside the ITU, with almost 20 years of experience in the development sector.
“Some of you have worked with him in disaster situations and I am sure you can testify that he is undoubtedly a strategic asset to the ITU, who deserves your support.
“We are offering Dr Zavazava to the ITU as a token of appreciation for the support that we have enjoyed and also our commitment to the work of the union. We are counting on you to support our offering to the union,” he said.
He said Zimbabwe was doing its best with regards to the Vision 2020 targets and fostering growth of the ICT sector where the country had witnessed unprecedented growth in the use of Internet bandwidth and achieved 86 percent in 3G population coverage.
“In our quest for an inclusive information society, we are using our Universal Service Fund to roll out community information centres in all corners of the country, connecting schools and health centres mostly in rural and remote areas,” he said
The minister said Zimbabwe had deliberately directed efforts on reducing cost of services by a maintaining a cost-based tariff regime, mandating passive infrastructure sharing and establishing a national internet exchange point, which will double up as a regional internet exchange point.
He said the country had also embarked on massive training, education and awareness programmes for broadband consumers targeting the remote areas so as to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs.
“On the innovation front, we have started disbursing funds for start-ups following the successful launch of the innovation fund in March 2018.
“Looking into the future, we are saying ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ and we cherish building partnerships and concerted collaboration to take us to the desired level. Our target is to grow our economy by at least 14 percent year-on-year on a sustained basis, with broadband as our lynch-pin,” he said.
In April this year, SADC also endorsed Dr Zavazava for the post stating that based on his work experience, he was the best candidate for this post, which primarily takes care of developing countries and in particular the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries and Small Island Developing States.