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The world has embraced Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as an enabler of social and economic development.  The industry is growing very fast and making significant contribution to global trade and investment.

ICT is receiving focus at various fora as demonstrated by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).  Both initiatives have resulted in the promotion of information and knowledge based society as the basis for creating wealth. An opportunity has arisen for Zambia to join the global village by connecting commerce and trade.  This policy sets the framework for Zambias participation in the global economy.

At the national level, the importance of ICT in national development is demonstrated by the approval of the ICT Policy and the inclusion of ICT as a priority sector in the Fifth National Development Plan 2006-2010. This Policy is designed on thirteen pillars namely as follows:-

* Human Resource Development;
* Agriculture;
* Tourism, Environment & Natural Resources;
* Education;
* Health
* E-Commerce
* E-Government
* Youth and Women
* Legal & Regulatory Framework
* Security in Information Society
* Access, Media, Content and Culture
* ICT Services

A challenge has now arisen for the country to implement this policy and I therefore call upon all stakeholders to rise to this challenge.  This Policy shall be Government-led and it is the intention of Government to involve the private sector in its implementation through the Public-Private Partnerships.
This partnership is especially important for mobilizing resources for infrastructure development.

At the operational level, it is expected that all ministries, institutions and organizations shall take the National ICT Policy as a guiding document to assist in developing sector-specific ICT policies and plans that will allow the application of ICTs in their respective programmes and projects.

To demonstrate Government commitment in providing leadership, Cabinet approved the creation of the Department of Communications in the Ministry of Communications and Transport which will coordinate and oversee the implementation of this policy.

Now that the first milestone of developing the national ICT policy has been achieved, I wish to implore co-operating partners to consider ICT as a priority.

Hon. Abel M. Chambeshi, MP.

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