SADC countries urged to promote ICT use
Harare (New Ziana) –Countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have been urged to promote the greater use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in order to boost the trust and confidence of consumers in their application.
Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) director general Dr Gift Machengete said this during the official opening of the Communication Regulators Association of Southern Africa (CRASA ) meeting in the capital on Monday.
At least 14 out the 16 SADC countries are members CRASA, who seek to harmonize postal and information communications and technologies regulatory environs in the region.
Machengete said without feeling safe and protected, consumers use ICTs less.
“We need people to trust our e-commercial platforms, our e-health platforms, our IoT platforms. We need people to trust drones and robots, to trust actions performed through machine learning, decisions made through artificial intelligence and guidance given through the use of algorithms,” he said.
“Trust will promote greater use of ICTs, which will enhance participation in the digital economy and promote economic growth.”
He said the milestone meeting was taking place in Zimbabwe at an opportune time as the country has fully operationalized the Data protection unit whilst also enhancing consumer protection efforts through collaborative regulation at national, regional and international levels.
“Accordingly, we have several working arrangements with other regulators including the Competition commission, the Central Bank, the Consumer Protection Commission, the Research Council of Zimbabwe and the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe as we believe in whole of community collaborative regulation across economic sectors, regions and borders,” he explained.
CRASA executive secretary Bridget Linzie said there was need for inclusiveness and the organization had a mammoth challenge to make its ICTs user friendly to the disabled persons, just as it was to the able bodied.
She said despite several challenges that they presented, there were also opportunities which should be fully utilized to enhance economic growth in the SADC region.
The CRASA member states chose a new leadership that will implement the organisation’s strategic plan over the next 5 years, which will be chaired by Lesotho and deputized by Zambia.