IT Experts In Zimbabwe Criticise Governments 1% Proposal For R&D
Some tech experts in Zimbabwe have criticised the government's intention to allocate only 1% of the country's GDP towards research and development saying it is unimportant and would be unable to sustain a socio-economic development plan, given the country's ongoing liquidity crisis.
Paul Mavima, Zimbabwe's Education Minister, is on record as saying that Zimbabwe was guided by the African Union's recommendation, and had committed one percent of Gross Domestic Product to research and development in an effort to increase productivity, innovation capacity and economic growth.
Mavima said that the ICT investment would include vocational and technical training, as well as the development of digital skills. He also said that the government of Zimbabwe would allocate more funds towards digital literacy programmes, to offer smart e-learning, and to train educators in all the new technologies.
The President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa said that the successful delivery of ICT in African education would be crucial in driving economic development across the entire continent.
He added that the point of innovation is to add the latest technological developments into the education systems of African countries in consistency with the African Union's 10-year science, technology and Innovation for Africa (STISA,2024).
Market analysts have, however, warned that while telecoms and ICT is expected to play a significant role in an economic comeback, the shortage of forex and liquidity continues to hinder investment in network expansion and infrastructure development.
Danny Mambo, an independent IT expert, said that in his opinion, it was over-ambitious for the government even to propose an increase in R&D capacity.
He said that the government was not exactly financially stable at the moment. On the other hand, Mambo scoffed at the 1 percent offer, citing that tossing internet connectivity, some run-down computers here-and-there and solar panels would not really amount to a credible e-learning strategy that would actually yield results and blast the country off into the digital economy.
Mambo added that budgetary resources severely restricted the efforts made by the Zimbabwean ministry and that students who actually learn IT were those with tech resources at home.
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