The City of Mutare has emerged the winner of maiden Multi-City Challenge Africa competition which was an initiative aimed at tackling urban life problems affecting African local authorities through extensive citizen participation.
Through HIT start-up called LADS Africa has developed a tool that will automate the collection and aggregation of SLB data in local authorities across Zimbabwe in real time. The tool merges data from various local authorities and generates SLB reports for easy analysis. Because each local authority is unique, reports are generated by province, local authority class (i.e. urban/rural) and national.
Ease of doing business during the Covid-19 era has received a major boost after the Harare Institute of Technology designed a chat robot tailor-made for local authorities.
Mutare City Council in partnership with the Harare Institute of Technology through LADS Africa has set up a digital transformation lab at the City council. The Lab's mandate is to digitise Council operations one by one. The lab is as a result of an MOU signed between HIT and City of Mutare. The lab is maned by full time engineers from HIT. The parties have set two years to fully transform all council operations from Billing, receipting, HR, Housing, licensing and engineering services.
The delegation of the European Union to Zimbabwe has described City of Mutare’s level of citizen engagement and social inclusion as encouraging following its adoption and use of an electronic system to track daily activities by the local authority called the Local Authority Digital System (LADS).
The Ministry of Local government has adopted LADS ERP. Minister July Moyo is advocating for it to become a national system for all local authorities in Zimbabwe. A national Committee which comprises of Directors in the ministry, financial advisory, HIT personnel and development partners such as CLGF, GIZ, Gender Links and Silveria House has been formed. An orientation seminar was held in Bulawayo in February 2022 to come up with a LADS implementation programme and matrix.
LADS Africa conducted a two-day training workshops for urban councils entitled Digital Transformation. This came after realizing that most councils are struggling to digitally transform their business operations due to lack of strategic understanding of the modalities involved in the digital transformation process.
Following the successful development of the financial modules by LADS, a system review session with selected finance and procurement officers from local authorities was held at the Harare Institute of Technology, Innovation Hub from the 11th to the 13th of July 2022. The review’s aim was to critic and interrogate the system so that areas that require improvement were identified. The purpose of the review was also to get input from the finance officers so that we standardize the modules to suite everyone’s need. The workshop was funded by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF).