Zimbabwe: Towards an ICT4D Policy and Practice Platform

Innovation Areas: LAB
Stage: Early stage

Establishing a structured and collaborative ICT4D platform modeled around a functional Public-Private Partnership Framework

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The problem addressed

Growing youth unemployment/lack of information. The ICT Sector is identified as one of the key drivers and strategies for employment creation, improving service delivery and accelerated economic growth. However, such a collaborative platform on ICTs for Development does not yet exist in Zimbabwe, which poses a challenge on the extent to which ICTs can indeed drive the economy.

The intervention

The purpose of this initiative is to support the establishment of a structured and collaborative ICT4D platform modeled around a functional Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Framework in Zimbabwe. This platform will serve as a development incubation space where stakeholders will jointly identify opportunities and design prototypes for leveraging ICTs to accelerate sector-specific development (e.g. health, energy) or confront development challenges (e.g. youth unemployment). 

The partners

Under the ICT4D Initiative, UNDP worked closely with the Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services. Leveraging on the PPP approach, partners also include the private sector, the ICT sector, consumer associations, service providers, tech and innovation hubs, institutions of higher learnings and representatives of Civil Society. Within the UN Country Team, UNDP worked closely with other UN agencies including ITU, UPU, UNICEF and UN Women.


In July 2014, the Minister of ICTPCS officially launched the ICT for Development (ICT4D) Policy and Practice dialogue platform as a space for all stakeholders to jointly identify opportunities to leverage on ICT for development. Two parallel Innovation labs for business incubation and social enterprises have been set up with 10 business projects currently undergoing incubation and 5 youth projects going through social innovation. In September, UNDP Zimbabwe held an event during SHIFT Week of Innovation Action which brought together 80 representatives from the Government, tech and innovation hubs, youth organizations and the private sector to discuss how to establish and nurture strategic PPPs for ICT-led development, as well as provided a platform for stake holders in the country to show case how they are leveraging ICTs to address development challenges, deliver services and foster inclusive collaboration and participation. In November, UNDP supported Harare Startup Weekend where 27 young Zimbabwean were exposed to the process of innovation and the socio-economic opportunities lying with the digital economy, with the support of dedicated mentors and coaches.

Lessons identified

Innovation is context specific, determined by local needs and realities (and therefore cannot be defined by universal norms), while there is no one-size fits all approach.

Innovation should be driven by local actors – with development partners, UN playing a facilitative and catalytic role.

Development partners should invest in mitigating the risks associated with Innovation, while also absorbing the potential costs of failure (factors that prohibit or undermine innovation).

Innovation is about the process of adding value – rather than creating new products.

Contact person

William Tsuma: william.tsuma@undp.org

Related materials


Bridging the Digital Gender divide in Zimbabwe

'Hubs in Harare: A new dawn for digital entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe?'

'Technology does not determine: Human Intend does'

'The Value of Public-Private Partnerships in ICT4D'


News: Promoting Development in Zimbabwe through ICT

Official Website: Harare Start-Up Week-End Official Website

Teamworks event space: SHIFT Zimbabwe

Inno4dev Interview: Verity Nyagah and William Tsuma, UNDP Zimbabwe

Infographic: ICT4D Partnerships



$100,000 USD 

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