Tendai Mugabe and Columbus Mabika, Harare Bureau
Zimbabwe is now assembling computers and other technological gadgets locally following establishment of the Zimbabwe Technology Company (ZITCO), a joint venture with a Chinese firm.
ZITCO is a joint venture between TelOne, Chinese company Inspur and a Government-owned entity and is involved in the assembling of computers, laptops, tablets and other various technological gadgets.
It is the first company in Zimbabwe to assemble computers locally and has the capacity to produce 150 000 gadgets annually at its plant in Msasa, Harare.
ZITCO products will go a long way in substituting importation of technological gadgets that are draining the country of the much-needed foreign currency.
President Mnangagwa toured the company yesterday and hailed the achievement.
He said Government under the Second Republic will do everything possible to support the growth of technology to ensure Zimbabwe caught up with the rest of the world in terms of development. President Mnangagwa said technology was the way to go and Zimbabwe was partnering friendly countries to advance its technological capabilities.
“This has been an eye opening event for me,” he said. “I am on leave, but this man, Dr (Misheck) Sibanda (Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet), persuaded me to come and I agreed.
“ICT is the way to go. We need to modernise our economy, we need to catch up with the rest of the world, the developing world as well as the developed world.
“To do so, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel anymore. We need to access technology from those countries that are willing to engage and cooperate with us and China is one of those countries. Fortunately, the Minister of Finance (and Economic Development) Professor Mthuli Ncube is here. ‘Prof this is where you should put your money to preserve it’.”
President Mnangagwa said ZITCO required Government support for it to grow and supply both the domestic and international market.
“As this entity grows, it will deal with the domestic market and I see that in future it can also go in the external market, but for them to do so, they need to be supported by us,” he said.
“We have young people doing latest technology here. We always see those things in developed economies, now that is here in Msasa, Harare. Fantastic. This is what we want and let me assure you that as the Second Republic, we will support you and the ball is now in your court now that I know what is happening.
“The Chief Secretary has briefed me about this, but I never paid more attention to it until recently when he came back from leave. He went on leave, when he came back when I was on leave he phoned me and said Cde President, you need to see this establishment because they need to be supported and I am happy.
“I also informed the Vice President, Acting President now (General Constantino Chiwenga) last night and asked him to come and I don’t think he is regretting that he has come because as we were walking around, he said this is what we should have done many years back, but as it is, once we have begun, we should do everything that we can to ensure that your vision is realised and it becomes our vision.”
Briefing journalists, TelOne projects executive Engineer Jeremia Munembe said: “We are in a partnership with various other stakeholders into this ICT assembly plant and we got this plant through the Office of the President and Cabinet.
“We are looking at assembling desktops, laptops tablets and other ICT devices in this factory and the benefits of that are import substitution and we will spend less and we will also be able to empower and create employment not only in this plant but also downstream industries.
“We are also looking at opportunities where we will work with other small to medium enterprises and innovation companies in terms of software components. We are looking at a number of products that feed into laptops, desktops and ICT devices.”