By WENGO KALUBA
The Ministry of Technology and Science made a public launch on October 13 with Minister Felix Mutati outlining cross-sectoral deliverables that will make government services affordable and convenient across every arena from education to power generation.
At the launch, attended by Permanent Secretary Kayula Siame and Director Succeed Mubanga from the ministry and corporate heads and representatives at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Lusaka, the minister announced the piloting of 5G technology in the capital as one of the key ventures to be kick-started in 100 days.
Other goals include creating Technology and Innovation Garages (TIG hubs), upgrading the Lundazi Green Village Project to provide solar power, and funding 20 young innovators for development and commercialization of different technologies.
The Cabinet Minister expressed interest in blockchain innovation, which encompassed systems of recording information that are transparent and difficult to manipulate.
He said STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) would be top priority in the schools education system, while integrated e-government services would be introduced.
New innovations include an integrated National Registration Card (NRC) information system, a digital health management system, as well as a council management system.
Mutati anticipated that the new systems would be facilitated in collaboration with existing Government institutions such as SMART ZAMBIA and the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA).
Mutati five key pillars as critical for the successful implementation of the stated innovations:
- The creation of an appropriate and enabling environment, in which all relevant stakeholders can contribute and add value to the digital ecosystem;
- Creating an open government that is accountable and reliable with technology assisting in the elimination of wastage of information and time to complete processes. Promoting digital technology appreciation among citizens;
- Upskilling the Zambian people through digital technology; and
- Protecting citizens’ data and digital infrastructure are protected.
Mutati described the Ministry as one that has “no borders,” and said it would be committed to using science, technology and indigenous innovations to solve Zambian problems as well as propel the country’s economic development.
Permanent Secretary Siame described the Ministry as an “enabler of progress,” poised to drive Zambia’s economic recovery.
ZANACO CEO Mukwandi Chibesakunda also applauded the launch of the new Ministry and expressed her institution’s eagerness to see how Mutati and his team would achieve their 100-day deliverables.