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Zimbabwe's long but crucial road to digitalisation

by Staff Reporter
04 Jul 2022 at 07:54hrs | Views
Source: Pexels
In recent days, the President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, said that embracing science and technology, particularly in the field of education, will help to boost the global economy. He added that such a focus would better prepare youngsters to pursue careers in a digital economy.

The comments were made at the World Economic Forum (WEF). in Davos. He explained to journalists that the future of business and the creation of wealth depends on the "digital economy." Particularly developing countries in Africa and even South America should invest in such measures, so youngsters embrace technology early on.

His statement comes off the back of a WEF initiative to facilitate the better flow of funds destined for digital projects around the world. Under the agreement, which also involves the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO), they would work together to develop new possibilities, products, activities, and ideas, as well as increase investment in digital infrastructures.

Tech on the up

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the tech sector (in particular financial technology) has witnessed growth over the last few years. This includes mobile payments, exchanges, and platforms related to cryptocurrency. The institution is also working on the development of a National Fintech framework that it hopes will guide the further development of the sector while ensuring it is regulated.

This could impact several end-products, including apps that are used to make instant payments or trade across different currencies. It could also include platforms that operate as an online stock broker where equities can be traded and speculated on by those interested in finance. Doing this online from apps or websites is growing in popularity as more people become financially literate and technologically savvy. For example, recent data from Google shows that up to 60% of people prefer to use finance apps to conduct their business, whether it's trading forex or commodities, and up to 90% use banking apps. In terms of trading, Statista puts the global eTrading market at a value of $8.2 billion with millions of monthly users. The demand for these services will increase, providing more opportunities for the local tech sector.

Still a hurdle

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However, there is still one hurdle. On June 3rd, the World Bank published a report where it noted there is still a concerning skills gap when it comes to digital matters. The bank authored the report in conjunction with the Zimbabwean government and looked at the lay of the land in terms of what is needed to improve education to meet the growing needs of today.

It found that after several years of economic issues, the educational sector must change swiftly and update itself to be relevant. The key, the report noted, is that digital skill sets are built up so the digital economy can flourish in the country.

Building digital skills in youth and the general population can also increase employment opportunities both within and outside (through remote working) the country.

"Zimbabwe requires a focused effort on developing a digitally competent workforce and digitally literate citizens who could reap the benefits that the digital transformation can bring," Mukami Kariuki, the WB in-country manager, said.

There is no doubt it is crucial Zimbabwe focuses on digitalizing society and its citizens. In today's world, digital literacy is more important than ever. It can also have the power to solve, or at least alleviate, many of the problems that plague our societies. All it needs is a bit of will.

Source - Byo24News