Zim open to collaborations with India in growing the digital economy – Minister Mutsvangwa

By Justin Mahlahla

The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa has invited India to partner Zimbabwe in creating a digital economy based on the existing strong ties between the two countries.

She made the call while addressing the 17TH Conclave on India-Africa Growth Partnership underway in New Dehli.

Minister Mutsvangwa noted that the dawn of the New Dispensation under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Zimbabwe offers prospects of game-changing victories which are embedded in the domain of Cooperation in the emerging global digital economy between India and Africa. 

“As Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcast, I have my work schedule cut here at the 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,” said Honourable Mutsvangwa.

She added, “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. Let us jointly work on total digital financial inclusivity from all our people even in remote rural areas. Above all let us marshal both domestic and foreign capital so it funds an explosion in digital content creation across socio-economic domains and digital platforms.”

“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,” said the minister.

She said Zimbabwea sees great potential for partnerships with India, which has demonstrated prowess in developing the intellectual property of the emerging digital economy.

“It has exhibited outstanding capabilities in computer software development. The advent of the internet and digital economy has seen New Dehli harness this prowess for the goal of total national digital inclusiveness. India has over five thousand years of continuous and uninterrupted history. All of it is being converted to digital platforms that the youthful generations can easily manipulate. That way originality, identity and homegrown creativity can inspire and motivate the present for the benefit of prosperity. India also has a 1.3 billion youthful population rapidly and ardently entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” 

Minister Mutsvangwa also called for collaborations in the film industry.

“Your Excellencies, Clearly it enjoys huge economies of scale that reduces the unit cost of research and application as prelude to deployment for national development.The evident success of the world class Bollyhood film and broadcast industry speaks volumes of what India can do for the global market of informing, educating and entertainment.”

She said similar success is being notched up in national digital financial inclusion, where internet and digital banking has dispensed with four walled physical banks, replacing with the mobile phone and sibling digital gadgets. 

“Central governments around the world have rims of information stored in computer server clouds connected by, copper,  fibre-optic and satellite signals. Herein lies the digital dividend India can bring into its interplay with the African continent and its matching 1.2 billion equally youthful population.”

She said, “As Zimbabwe,  we are fully aware of the business opportunities this latest edition of the conclave is offering and ushering. My President, H.E. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is keenly interested to harness the full economic potential of the Dehli-Harare Axis. We are duty bound to go back to the future of the glory that was our trade links across the short Indian Ocean. 

“After all it only takes 7-8 days to reach Mumbai by ship from Beira. And Vice versa from Bangalore to Maputo.These are two main ports for land-linkedZimbabwe to the 400 million market of the SADC region, one of the most promising on the African continent.

“President Mnangagwa and his Second Republic are conjuring wonders and miracles in national economic development. This is the underlying creation and exchange of REAL goods and services that change the daily lives of the populace. Zimbabwe is 30 per cent complete in building Africa’s largest carbon steel plant in Mvuma-Chivhu-Manhize snug at the centre of the country. I boldly announce that production is slated to start mid-year 2023. Our mild steel will be most globally affordable. The steel plant is perched of 20 billion tons proven iron ore deposit. Essar Steel India conducted the exploration and drilling. Nearby is 97 percent of the outstanding ferrochrome resource of the Great Dyke, the third largest chrome ore resource in the world.”

“Not far away is Hwange Colliery, home to Africa’s highest quality thermal coal and metallurgical coke deposit. The proximity of these key ingredients  of mild or carbon steel to the blast furnaces will deliver knock down prices to the end product. As I speak, rigs are now in place drilling for petroleum  and gas in the  Muzarabani zone of the Zambezi section of the geological African Rift Valley.

“In the last year, over US$600 million mergers and Acquisitions have been executed in the lithium sector. Apart from that fact, Zimbabwe, together with the Sister Republic of Mozambique are poised to become New Electric  Energy Vehicle and Battery Storage manufacturing bases,” she noted. 

Senator Mutsvangwa also highlighted regional opportunities presented by the abundance of cobalt from D.R. Congo which is 60 per cent of global supply as well as indefensible copper (also from Zambia), transported through both Zimbabwe and Mozambique to world markets as well as Mozambique’s world’s largest graphite mine. 

“Briefly in agriculture, Zimbabwe possesses fertile and well-watered soils and that enjoy a rewarding climate.The famed Dutch Institute of Tropical Agriculture famously remarked: ‘EVERY DROPPED SEED SPROUTS IN Zimbabwe.’ Harare is ready to open our African savanna so they play full part in the global food market,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

“Over and above, the ancillary infrastructure linkages of ports, pipelines, rail, road, airports telecommunications and all inclusive logistical support systems that make the movement of goods and services seamless in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is the land-linked to both intra-SADC and global trade touting.”

She said Dehli and Harare can score remarkable goals, with Zimbabwe having 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,” she said.