Data Governance in Zimbabwe: Opportunities and Challenges

Digitisation has affected social and economic activity worldwide. Data extraction and analysis have revealed new insights that affect wealth generation, notably in the West. Zimbabwe is one of many African nations that has recognised the usefulness of data and worked to regulate data extraction and usage to maximise value and minimise risks. The National Development Strategy 1 (2021–2025) intends to revitalise the economy to become an “Empowered and Prosperous Upper Middle-Income Society by 2030” by using digital technology.

The Cyber and Data Protection Act and Regulations were passed “to enhance confidence and trust in the secure use of information and communication technology by data controllers, their agents and data subjects.” However, legal refinement is needed, as this policy brief states. There is uncertainty about combining cybersecurity with data protection, and there are legacy concerns about using these laws to constrain digital civil rights and allow authoritarian authority.

This policy brief proposes that Zimbabwe’s strategy to using data for socioeconomic development can be expanded to meet concerns like everyday connection fees and data abuses without being influenced by state security assumptions. The enormous public and private benefits of digital transformation can only be realised when a country is willing to connect with existing networks so people can interact and trade. To build trust in digital technologies and advocate for further integration with global networks, policymakers need a conceptual shift.

Suggested citation

Hlomani, H., & Timcke, S. (2023). Data governance in Zimbabwe: Opportunities and challenges. RIA Policy Brief no. 2/2023. Research ICT Africa.