The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Government has called on rural communities to utilise Community Information Centres (CICs), to start identifying local content that could be digitised and made available through the internet for the benefit of communities.
With Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as the internet spreading and penetrating rural communities, the lives of rural citizens are being enhanced. ICTs are playing a significant role in combating rural poverty and fostering sustainable development through creating information rich societies and supporting livelihoods.
At the launch of the Nkayi Community Information Centre last week, Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Dr Jenfan Muswere in a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Dr Engineer Samuel Kundishora, said there was a need to develop local content.
“Digital inclusion can only thrive where the community can identify themselves with the available digital content. Digital inclusion is therefore, dependent on the availability of content in local languages and dialects. I cannot over-emphasise the need for the development of local content if this Community Information Centre is to make the desired impact among the local communities. If properly developed and marketed such content can also create employment for the local communities,” said Dr Muswere.
He called on the local community of Nkayi to start identifying local content that could be digitised and made available through the internet for the benefit of the local community. Dr Muswere also called on the youths to take up studies in different disciplines in the ICT sector and to make use of the facilities commissioned to conduct research when doing their homework and when preparing for examinations.
“The National Development Strategy (NDS1) emphasises the Digital Economy as one of the 14 national priorities for the period 2021-2025. This economic blueprint, which provides a roadmap in our journey towards a prosperous and empowered Upper-Middle Income Society by 2030 is anchored on a digitally enabled economy as the National Key Results Area for outcomes leading to improved access and usage of ICTs.”
He reiterated the Government’s commitment to the attainment of a digital economy and a knowledgeable society. He said the digital economy and knowledgeable society being created should not be the preserve of those in urban areas alone, but should permeate throughout the whole country, including remote areas like Nkayi.
Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) director general Dr Gift Machengete said the Community Information Centre was there to create a business enabling environment.
“Nkayi is endowed with many natural resources that can be leveraged for development. Your timber is the best. Your metal and wood fabrications are the best. You need markets for all this and the Internet gives you markets. Your farming is maize and cattle-dominated and you need markets and information, hence we say knowledge is power.
The Knowledge/Power Dynamics can only be strengthened by this Community Information Centre,” he said.
Dr Machengete said with the Community Information Centre, the aim was to empower the people of Nkayi for them to research about expected rainfall and expected temperatures so that they plan their farming activities accordingly.