Zimbabwe has opened its first ICT factory in a move the country hopes will stimulate the creation of a local technology industry.
The ZITCO plant in Msasa, Harare, is a joint venture between state telecoms company TelOne, another, unnamed government-owned entity and Chinese company Inspur.
The factory will assemble computers, laptops, tablets, prepaid electricity meters and smart water meters, and has the capacity to produce 150,000 devices annually, said state newspaper The Zimbabwe Herald.
President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, said the plant would help provide local alternatives to foreign IT hardware.
“ICT is the way to go. We need to modernise our economy, we need to catch up with the rest of the world, the developing world, as well as the developed world,” said Mnangagwa.
“To do so, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel anymore. We need to access technology from those countries that are willing to engage and cooperate with us, and China is one such country.”
He added that as Zimbabwe’s IT capacity grows, it will be easier for the public sector to move towards online digital services and automated systems.
He advised government ministries to liaise with the National Data Centre and the High Performance Computer Centre to explore ways of improving connectivity.
“The facility will further help to promote technology transfer, foster human capital development, enhance import substitution and provide robust platforms upon which innovation and design can be commercialised.”
TelOne managing director Chipo Mtasa said the plant had already started assembling a batch of 2,500 desktop PCs and laptops.
Meanwhile Mnangagwa also announced that Zimbabwe has set a target to achieve a green economy by 2030.
He said: “In the case of Zimbabwe, an ambitious target has been set to green the economy by 2030 whilst climate change, adaptation and resilience have been mainstreamed in all sectors.
“In addition, the country has a long-term low emission development strategy which provides a range of options to contribute in the climate change goal of limiting the global temperature increase.”
The AfDB has predicted Zimbabwe’s economy – which was already shrinking before the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic – could see moderate growth this year if it avoids excessive inflation and takes effective measures to stabilise foreign exchange.