Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) Policy for Change and the Mask for Development : A Critical Analysis of Zimbabwe's E-Readiness Survey Report
The Government of Zimbabwe in conjunction with the National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF) commissioned an e-readiness survey in 2005, in a bid to assess the country’s readiness to embrace Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Findings of this survey would then be used to coin a national ICTs policy and the e-strategy to provide a roadmap towards a knowledge society. In a quest to assess the country’s e-readiness the Harvard University Guide (HUG) was used. Development in this paper is referred to as a process of change, which sets in motion principles whose objective is to eradicate poverty, injustice and various forms of exploitation. The pursuit of development therefore becomes the central pillar for policies. This paper seeks to provide a critical analysis of Zimbabwe’s e-readiness survey report and also focuses on the bedrock upon which the survey was carried out. It seeks to perceive an imperative to the e-readiness assessment as also hinged on the technological determinist perspective as propounded by Marshal McLuhan (1964). This theory will be compounded by the diffusion of innovations model as coined by Everett Rogers (1962). The model strongly emphasizes the adoption of new technologies as the panacea for social change and development. The argument posited by the e-readiness survey report is that in order to bridge the digital gap, Zimbabwe needs to build infrastructure to allow ICTs to be accessible. However, the e-readiness survey report does not show a connection between the spread of ICTs infrastructure on the one hand and the economic and social development on the other. There is need to consider non-quantifiable variables, such as poverty and social justice. The other factor as suggested above is the need for Zimbabwe to address current political and economic problems, as this isolation would impact heavily on the need to be interconnected.