Zimbabwe is currently participating in a telecoms conference in London organized by the Commonwealth, in what is being seen by some as a positive signal for the country’s potential re-admission to the club of former British colonies.
The southern African country withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003 after it became apparent that the organization would extend a suspension imposed a year earlier following elections marred by allegations of violence and rigging.
The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Ministerial Alliance for Digital Nations 2023 summit is being hosted by the United Kingdom, and the Information Communication Technology minister, Jenfan Muswere, is attending to facilitate collaboration between governments and the ICT industry in addressing ICT issues for economic development.
This marks the first time Zimbabwe has been invited to the conference, and officials hope it will help their efforts to end the country’s international isolation and claim a seat on the world stage.
Despite applying for readmission in 2018, continuing rights abuses and official corruption have dimmed the country’s hopes of acceptance. However, a top official of the group of 56 mainly former British colonies said Zimbabwe has made significant progress for readmission following an assessment mission in November 2022.
Among African ICT ministers participating at the event are those from Uganda, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Gabon, Gambia, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Tanzania. Raphael Mushanawani, CEO of the state-owned NetOne, attended the event as a representative of mobile telecoms companies in Zimbabwe.