January 28, 2023
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Diasporans should let Zim in on new technology

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The Sunday Mail

Editor’s Brief
Victoria Ruzvidzo

Having hosted a number of Diasporans during the festive season as a country, I thought it apt to amplify how this important constituency can play a role in our technological and economic advancement.

The statistics are instructive.

The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) estimates that close to a million Zimbabweans are in the diaspora.

Non-resident Zimbabweans also remitted US$1,4 billion in 2021, up from US$1 billion a year earlier.

It is clear that this segment cannot be ignored.

If anything, we need to leverage on its capacities, and I make specific reference to technological advancement.

Economicdisscussion.net advises that 58 percent of adults believe that the Internet, for example, was essential during the Covid-19 pandemic over the past year.

This puts an accent on the importance of technological and digital developments.

Exposed as they are to the latest technology, our Diasporans have a key role to play here.

It is estimated that technology contributes at least 28 percent to average annual growth globally.

To further reinforce the point, computer speed and power have been doubling every one-and-a-half to two years since the 1960s to the 1970s!

We caught on to it much later.

l remember, in the 90s, students would go to typists to have assignments done.

It is laughable now but that was the reality.

Students now have laptops and other gadgets they use for assignments and research purposes.

The Diasporans can significantly help and massively contribute to our advancement as we latch on to technology.

We have many Zimbos (as we call ourselves) spread across the globe.

South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, China, India and Botswana, to mention a few, all host Zimbabweans.

The advantages here are easy to discern.

We have Zimbabweans being variously exposed to global standards.

We have our people attuned to latest technologies.

We also have our own earning the much-needed foreign currency.

We all know that at times we do not need to reinvent the wheel, but to learn how other countries and nations are doing it.

We also know that we recalibrate the said technologies in some instances to suit our peculiar circumstances.

We have Zimbabweans who left this country as students to further their education.

They have acquired critical and indispensable skills.

They have mingled with other nationalities.

They, too, are our ambassadors.

Some have even been employed in the host countries, getting valuable international exposure in the process.

We have others who left specifically in search of greener pastures, as they sought employment outside this country, with the prospect of higher emoluments being an attraction or a pull factor.

Typically, others have benefited from their kith and kin who found bases outside this country.

But home will always be home.

One feels entirely at home when in their own country.

The sacrifices made by Diasporans are well-noted.

That said, we need to ensure that we reap optimum benefits from them.

Technology has radically transformed the way things are done.

Some examples will drive the point home.

Agricultural processes have been turned on their head.

Soil fertility, weather patterns prediction, interventions in practices, the use of drones, et cetera, have all contributed to increased output.

In terms of health, technological interventions have been quite pronounced.

They range from surgical operations to early cancer detection, and these have enhanced health and well-being.

Needless to mention communication enablement.

Mining, too, has been transformed.

Where miners would traditionally use guesswork to identify mineral deposits, now there are technologies that easily detect the mineral and its quantum in any given area.

This evidently cuts on costs and saves that critical resource called time.

Feasibility studies have become seamless.

These are examples of the wonders of technology.

This is where our Diasporans come in handy.

They are exposed to such practices in a big way.

They have acquired skills and work with the latest equipment.

They also work, some of them daily, with cutting-edge technology.

The issue then is: How do we derive optimum benefits from them?

We have always heard of the need for skills transfer from foreign investors and of the need for locals to learn from the foreigners.

Or is it rather the need for foreign capital to ensure that locals are capacitated?

That is all well and dandy.

But how about our Diasporans also playing a critical and more active role in ensuring that a broader section of the local populace also benefits from their knowledge, skills and exposure.  A candle loses nothing by lighting another! We appreciate what our universities are doing.

They are introducing new products and services, with the use of some latest technologies.

This is how it should be.

The innovation hubs have really revolutionised our institutions of higher learning.

And we also have very competent diasporans who have had the benefit of their education and experiences across borders and seas.

They are repositories of a lot of skills and knowledge.

We maximally benefit from them.

We surely must come up with initiatives that deepen our skills base and capacities.

And, again, they should be willing players, if not initiators.

The upper middle-income economy envisaged by Vision 2030 will surely manifest itself, aided by the adoption of new technologies.

Indeed, the Diaspora, working with Government and other key partners, can find ways and means of ensuring that this happens.

Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo!

In God I Trust!

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