Zimbabwe is rich with opportunities for technology startups to thrive, but because of the economic hardships bedevilling the country a few of these opportunities have been exploited.
But the nation can emulate Rwanda and build a robust technological hub with the potential of super-charging the whole economy.
Rwanda started with creating a lot of ICT exposure to the people before it went to being an incubation place for technology firms to following up with latest technological developments to help revolutionize the whole economy and the results have been remarkable.
By Pearson Mbendera
The technology and innovation projects dotted all around Rwanda are generating a new, positive narrative, led by a new generation of young entrepreneurs, bursting with great ideas.
Only last year did the government of Zimbabwe, through the ministry of ICT embarked on launching Community Information Centres (CICs) with the aim of creating a lot of awareness for digital services, advancing e-learning among the vulnerable especially in the rural areas.
A lot of technology experts have bemoaned the lack of adequate internet penetration in the country as a major hindrance to the proliferation of technology based businesses. But Rwanda didn’t start by having internet access for everyone for the technological-economic boom to start. In fact, even when the nation had an internet penetration rate of 13%, Kigali, the Capital City was quite a renowned digital hub.
Marred with the stench of the 1994 Genocide, that claimed the lives of 800000 people, Rwanda seemed destined for disaster but they have turned that bad narrative by creating the best digital hub in Africa. A lot of foreigners go to Rwanda to exploit the cheap and skilled labour in technology, this works in the country’s favor
While Zimbabwe didn’t go through a nasty genocide, it spent 37 years of a reclining development that has seen the economy in tatters. With the rest of the world turning to the ICT revolution, the Southern African nation can do the same so as not to rely heavily on agriculture and natural resources to build the economy.
High unemployment, developmental issues, food security, health-care problems, power and energy, there are many problems in Zimbabwe that can be solved through the development of technology. This calls for technological development in the country to go along with the development of the national economy.
If Zimbabwe can emulate Rwanda, the nation can reap a lot of benefits. With a lot of educated and capable people in the country, Zimbabwe has the potential of being the digital hub of the African continent.