The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday News Reporter
ZIMBABWE and India should strengthen ties and deepen cooperation between their digital economies, while leveraging mutually beneficial trade relations that stretch back as far back as the ninth century, a cabinet minister has said.
Speaking during the ongoing 17th CII-Exim Conclave on India-Africa Growth Partnership in India on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said that Conclave came at an ideal time for both countries, with the Fourth Industry Revolution gathering steam and bringing with it a chance for closer economic ties.
“This Conclave is convening at a time when two major global events are reshaping the global economy. The first is the 4th industrial revolution whose import and substance is contained in the proliferation of ICT. The second development is the reordering of the global hegemonic supremacy. But even against this backdrop, I want to draw your attention to the fact that in the case of Zimbabwe, ICT trade with India does not feature in the top 10 of our trade relations. Therefore, this Conclave is an exciting opportunity to bypass and leapfrog and the capital heavy legacy investment with more nimble solutions that draw billions into the global economy at much lower cost,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said that relations between the two countries stretch back to precolonial times, were people from both countries engaged in mutually beneficial trade.
“India was a key player for five millennia as its trade with neighbour Africa fueled progress. In the instance of Zimbabwe, the gold trade with the legendary Munhumutapa Kingdom between the 9th and 14 the Centuries helped created a shared language Shona which evolved to modern Swahili. Shona is derived from Sona which is gold in Hindi. Not surprising considering the fabled gold endowments of Zimbabwe that have also attracted Persia, biblical Palestine, Arabia, Egypt, Somalia, Turkey, Indo-Malay. This was way ahead of the mercantilist and pillaging Portuguese, Dutch and British imperialists,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said she was meant to make sure that Delhi and Harare seal agreements that stretch across various sectors of the Zimbabwean digital economy, including the country’s continued migration from analogue to digital technology.
“Dehli and Harare can score remarkable goals. Zimbabwe has Africa’s Highest Human Resource Index by UNESCO ranking. Our well-educated population easily scales up to skills and professions. Our Diaspora community is a scientific national sample of this fact. It is performing to great satisfaction in various jurisdictions of the foreign labour markets.
“As Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcast, I have my work schedule cut here at Conclave. I seek agreements in digital content development across all domains. I embrace all sorts of collaborations to help us migrate legacy analogue to digital platforms. I encourage co-productions in television, radio and film. I want cross-fertilization in creative social media platforms. We must fight to retain and own our identity against encroachment by invasive foreign digital content,” she said.