Zimbabwe (Republic of)

Deputy Minister
Ministry of Information and Communications Technology

22 October 2014

The Chairman of Plenipotentiaries,

Wonki Min;
The Secretary General, Dr Hamodoun Toure and all elected Officials;
Colleague Ministers;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to address the global telecommunication/ICT fraternity at the International Telecommunications Union Plenipotentiary Conference 2014, in this captivating city of Busan.  I sincerely express my gratitude to our host, the Republic of Korea, for the extraordinary warm hospitality we are all enjoying.

Mr Chairman, allow me to affirm our commitment to the work of the Union.  This is evidenced by the developments in the Zimbabwe's ICT landscape where broadband penetration is on the rise, reaching 47% as at end of June 2014. The Government has put in place various initiatives to facilitate diffusion of broadband services throughout the country. To date the length of the national optic fibre backbone has reached 6 911 km, while the country's international internet bandwidth connectivity jumped from 9Gbps in 2013 to 16Gbps as at June 2014. As a matter of priority, Government, in collaboration with key stakeholders, will complete a National Broadband Plan by June 2015. In addition the National ICT Policy remains aligned with the fast changing information and communication technologies through our national periodic policy reviews.

On inclusiveness, the Zimbabwean Government is using low cost satellite solutions for the provision of broadband services in previously excluded, rural and remote areas of the country. In order to ensure that these technologies are affordable for disadvantaged people, We have on-going E- programs on education, health, government and services.

With regard to reducing the affordability gap between disadvantaged and well to do, we have already completed cost studies and are working on a comprehensive infrastructure sharing framework to avoid infrastructure duplication and reduce the cost of service provision.

The rapid growth in the introduction and use of value added services is a result of our focus on nurturing innovation to exploit the changing ICT landscape  fully. The lives of our people are indeed improving through ICT induced positive changes in many socio-economic sectors, including health, agriculture, banking and education. To this end, we salute the work of ITU in developing Global Standards that have seen us moving from 9Kbps in 2G to Broadband speeds now experienced in 4G. ITU should continue the good work until all citizens of the world are seamlessly connected.

We further commend the work done of ITU in the transition to Digital Terrestrial Television and in planning the resultant digital dividend. We are confident that both Digital Dividend 1 and 2 will be major assets in bridging the urban and rural digital divide.
Lastly, we passionately recognize the sterling contribution by the outgoing Secretary General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Deputy Secretary General Houlin Zhao, the current Directors of the three Bureaus, Brahma Sanou, Malcolm Johnson, François Rancy and their team.  You make us proud and grateful, and we wish you well, our DIGITAL LEGENDS, in your future endeavours.

In conclusion, let us as ITU, make a striking difference to the world during this Plenipotentiary 2014, by choosing our leaders wisely.

I thank you.