By Davison Vandira
Economic observers have raised concern over the country’s data costs saying it is an impediment to digital inclusion in line with international best practice.
Internet access has become a necessity in the digital transformation of the world where work, school and innovation among other essential human activities revolve around internet connectivity.
For Zimbabwe the need to improve digital inclusion has been necessitated by the coronavirus induced lockdowns which have limited face to face interaction.
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) through its circular 6 of 2020 insist internet service providers are still operating within the accepted data cost thresholds.
However, the cost of data has become an impediment especially after the recent increase which saw data going up by at least 30 percent.
Economic analyst Kudakwashe Mugova said, “A comparative analysis between Zimbabwe and regional peers shows that the country’s data costs are on the high side, which should work as an incentive for local service providers to streamline their services and be competitive.”
“The need for Zimbabwe to provide affordable internet access has never been more pronounced than it is at the moment as economic productivity now relies on access to the internet, hence it is imperative for service providers to provide efficient services with respect to the costs,” commented another economist, Takudzwa Chisango.
The government of Zimbabwe has been working overtime in providing access to ICT infrastructure including previously marginalised areas in its quest for inclusivity in growing the economy towards 2030.