ZIMBABWE does not discriminate against any form of investment and companies wishing to invest in the country should make hay while the sun shines as the Second Republic remains open for business with the whole world, President Mnangagwa said.
Officially launching the NetOne, Huawei National Mobile Broadband (MBB) Phase 3 project in Harare yesterday, the President debunked misconceptions, especially on social media platforms, that the country favours Chinese companies.
He said through win-win partnerships the Second Republic is revolutionising the information and technology sector which is at the heart of Zimbabwe Vision 2030 to be an upper middle-class economy and National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) as it is an enabler for development, communication and business investment.
After the Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Guo Shaochun had told the guests virtually that the Asian economic powerhouse is committed to win-win relations and respects the laws of nations where they are doing business, the President invited more Chinese companies to invest in the country.
“I listened to the statement made by the Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe that on social media there is a perception that Chinese companies dominate in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is open for business, it does not discriminate. It is indeed the foresight and wisdom of Chinese business to identify where they can operate on a win-win basis. No one is forbidden, more and more Chinese companies are welcome.”
The President said the NetOne and Huawei National Mobile Broadband (MBB) Phase 3 Project, which is funded by China-Exim Bank, is a result of the win-win, comprehensive, and strategic partnership between the Government of Zimbabwe and the People’s Republic of China.
“I would like to express my profound gratitude to the Government of the People’s Republic of China, for their unwavering support, which has made it possible for our nation to realise this milestone achievement.
“A digitally-driven and knowledge-based economy is one of the key priorities of the Second Republic. This is now more critical given the new realities brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, the spread and seamless access to digital technologies which empowers our people with job opportunities, e-enabled services and ultimately an improved quality of life must be diligently pursued.
“I, therefore, exhort NetOne and its technical cooperating partner Huawei, to accelerate the construction of 345 new base stations across the country.
“Furthermore, stakeholders in the ICT sector are also challenged to take advantage of opportunities brought about by this and other interventions of Government, to broaden access to digitally enabled opportunities for the majority of our people,” he said.
Since coming to power President Mnangagwa has made it clear that the country is a friend to all and foe to none and through his re-engagement and engagement drive. Some formally hostile nations are now stepping up to the plate, making huge investments in the country’s various lucrative sectors such as mining and also technology.
“In today’s fast-changing world, a country that does not adapt and adopt new innovations and technologies risks not realising its full potential.
“In this conte0xt, it is incumbent on all Government ministries, departments, and agencies to adopt solutions and systems that are in line with our quest to digitalise the economy.
“The drive towards robust, innovation, and ICT-driven modernisation and industrialisation must permeate every sector of our society, including all public entities, private voluntary and civil society organisations. No sector must be left behind,” the President.
Vice President Chiwenga, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere and other senior Government officials attended the meeting.
Through the project, which was funded to the tune of US$71 million and comes with high-value sites, network densification and consolidation, access to information has now become ubiquitous with hitherto unconnected areas being connected
Some of the base stations will also be equipped with 5G technologies, a desirable scenario that Dr Muswere said is in line with his portfolio thrust.
“The National Development Strategy 1 is to provide ICTs and digital access at village level. This vision embeds Information and Communication Technology (ICT) across all national development strategies as a key enabler, targeting to increase investment in ICT development to facilitate a digital economy and universal access by 2030.
“The Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services appreciates that the need for ICTs has been made all the more apparent by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has buttressed the need for digitisation; and we are here to ensure the attainment of this goal.”