Minister of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Postal and Courier Services, Jenfan Muswere commissioned a NetOne base station at Machongwe in Cyclone Idai hit Chimanimani.
The Machongwe Base Station is set to boost business, agriculture and enhance communication within the Manicaland Province and beyond.
“I must commend NetOne’s thrust to fulfill the government’s initiative to provide coverage and digital exposure to originally marginalized rural populations, especially in light of the fact that Machongwe’s commercial centre was wiped out by Cyclone Idai.
“Furthermore, a lot of critical infrastructure in the area was either cut off or swept away by flash floods and mudflows induced by the Cyclone. Machongwe bore the full wrath of the cyclone, which makes today’s Base Station commissioning such a special event and story of the restoration of communication solutions in the area.
“This will no doubt promote employment creation, by enhancing distribution and access channels. I have also been advised that this Machongwe Tower has already been provisioned for infrastructure sharing, meaning that the other operators Econet and Telecel are free to utilize this same infrastructure and install their equipment on this base station cost-effectively,” Muswere said.
The ICT Ministry has a resolve to improve mobile accessibility countrywide The world is being driven by innovation, information, and communication technologies; as such ICTs have become key fundamentals in the attainment of Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030, and becoming an upper-middle-income economy.
“As the Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services, our mandate is to use information technologies and communication solutions, to improve the livelihoods of all Zimbabweans, irrespective of location, throughout our great nation. This enhanced access to connectivity plays a pivotal role in ensuring that we achieve connected communities, thus the investment in the necessary infrastructure in both rural and urban centres, one of which we are witnessing today,” Muswere added.
At the same function Gift Machengete, the Director-General of the Postal and Communication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) said: “I would like to congratulate and welcome the Machongwe Community to the digital world. Welcome to the world of ease of communication, ease of transaction, and ease of doing business, which is all enabled by ICT access and use, which, hitherto the erection of this base station, you did not have.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Commissioning of the Machongwe base station is extra special. As you all know, parts of Chimanimani were ravaged by Cyclone Idai, which left the affected communities without essential communication and road network infrastructure among other amenities. Since then, Government has been on a rebuilding mission, rebuilding people’s lives and livelihoods, rebuilding people’s confidence, rebuilding people’s dreams. The Machongwe base station is thus extra special in that it is part of and contributes to this rebuilding exercise by Government,” Machengete said.
The Acting Chief Executive Officer of NetOne Chipo Jaisson said the Machongwe base station will empower the community through access to communication solutions, as well as products and services offered by NetOne. She said the base station is not only a source of communication but an additional source of employment creation and income for everyone throughout the district.
“As NetOne, we have many opportunities in the form of franchise shops for local entrepreneurs. This base station is provisioned to provide 2G & 3G services, hence providing data access through a re-farmed 900MHz spectrum, thereby availing cutting edge services to the once marginalized communities in this part of Manicaland.
“The community now has access to voice and data services enabling them to utilize electronic services such as our mobile money service One Money. This will allow you to receive and make payments with ease as One Money, is integrated into the Zimswitch platform and over 16 banks via ZIPIT. In addition, the One Money debit card allows you to swipe at any point-of-sale machine throughout the country, as well as buy and sell airtime at a discount. We also have very exciting voice bundles like Khuluma 24/7 and Dollar a Day that gives you real value for money. Our WhatsApp bundle is the only one that offers both voice and video calls,” Jaisson said.
The Machongwe Base Station is located about 14km South of Chimanimani Town, in Manicaland Province. This site is mounted on a 60m long lattice-type mast, giving it an optimum coverage area of a radius of about 35- 40 km. The site is providing coverage to at least 6 Wards namely 12, 13, 15, 21, 22, and 23 of Chimanimani District.