A recent paper [PDF] by M. Shoko and Njike, presented at the first Conference on Advances in Geomatics Research, looks at the importance of spatial data infrastructure (SDI) for economic health and recovery for Zimbabwe. SDI provides access to spatial information for decision making, and is said to play a vital role for both government and the private sector. In contrast, the lack of an SDI means that unnecessary duplication takes place with a loss of efficiency. The lack of coordinated data also leads to poor decisions in the face of such challenges as drought, environmental planning, natural resource management, health and sanitation, utility management, and education.
The report recounts past efforts, that were largely bott0m-up, where champions acted within professional groups or government to engage all stakeholders. The paper suggests a combined top down mixed with bottom up approach that allies with the United Nations, African Union and other trade bodies for high-level organization and promotion.
With the right commitment, the paper concludes, the implementation of SDI can lead Zimbabwe to recover faster from economic meltdown. While the change requires a new mode of thinking, that releases the power of information for the benefit of all, the benefits can improve the livelihood of all citizens.