Technology Minister, Mutati, hopeful debt restructuring would impact innovation


Technology and Science Minister, Felix Mutati, has said that Zambia’s ongoing debt restructuring exercise opens the door to resources trickling in and allowing innovation and technology to thrive.

Mutati said that Zambia was among top players in information technology because of the wide range of creative abilities found in many of the young country’s innovators.

The minister gave these remarks on Sunday at the launch of Mukuba University Innovation Pod (UNIPOD) which is a physical space offering opportunities for training, coaching, refining innovations and building skills for students from low income families in developing their innovations into viable ventures.

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In a statement issued in Lusaka on Tuesday, Mutati said the UNIPOD was created as achaccelerator labs in partnership with Copperbelt University.

Mutati said this was supported with a seed investment of US$600,000 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and aimed at contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Government is creating an enabling environment and policy framework for innovation,” Mutati said.

He also disclosed that in the last three years over 4,000 innovations had been supported in Zambia by the UNDP.

He, however, said with such innovations, there was need to collaborate with the private sector so that minerals can no longer be exported in their raw form but as finished products through innovation.

“Leveraging on knowledge, expertise and initiative, the University is helping us accelerate the pace of transformation of ideas into viable products,” Mutati stated.

He added that government targets to reach an 80 percent target of internet connectivity by the end of this year in order to accelerate innovations.

“Government on the other hand is creating an enabling environment and policy framework for innovation,” Mutati said.

He also highlighted government’s search for ways to make digital devices cheaper, especially smart phones considering the fact that Zambia was the most connected country by fibre across the continent.

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