The Technology Sector in Zimbabwe

  • Various factors are affecting the technology sector in Zimbabwe. Some of these factors are governmental plans to transform the economy, the lack of incentives for informal innovators, and the high cost of Internet access. Others include the role of ICTs in education.

    Internet access costs

    Despite being a landlocked country, Zimbabwe remains one of the most expensive countries in the world to get internet access. As a result, millions of people in the country are still largely offline.

    One major cause of this problem is the country's hyperinflationary environment. In July, the inflation rate reached a 10-year high of 837 percent. This has led to a rise in the cost of internet access in Zimbabwe.

    The telco regulatory body approved price hikes on data bundles of up to 19 percent. These hikes will push the costs of data services on to the public.

    This raises a number of questions. One of them is whether these price hikes infringe on the right to access information. Another is the extent to which they will keep consumers offline.

    The most basic issue, of course, is the availability of transmission networks. There are only five international gateways, three operated by state-owned network TelOne and two by private operators Econet and Africom. These companies must ensure that their transmission services are reliable and expandable.

    The costs of bandwidth are another factor that is considered by internet service providers. Although mobile broadband is growing in Zimbabwe, the coverage is still not very wide. In rural areas, fewer deployments of 3G and LTE are in place. The country's regulator reports that only four of 758 LTE base stations in the country are in rural areas.

    As a result, the digital divide between the wealthy and the poor continues to widen. There are also many people in rural areas who are unable to access internet.

    Internet access costs in Zimbabwe are also higher than in other African countries. This is due to the country's hyperinflationary economic environment and macroeconomic policies.
    Internet speeds

    Despite having a population of over five million people, internet speeds in Zimbabwe are generally pretty pedestrian. The telcos are the most prominent players in the country's telecommunications space. While the telecommunications sector has grown in recent years, competition is still limited.

    While the internet isn't cheap, the cost of data packages is often offset by low foreign direct investment inflows. The cost of a single gigabyte of data on mobile cellular carriers is estimated to be nearly 45% of the average monthly income. It's no surprise that the majority of internet users in Zimbabwe access the internet on their mobile devices.

    The best internet provider in Zimbabwe is Liquid Telcom, which has the country's largest fibre network. Econet is also a major player, having spent over one billion dollars in recent years to expand its network. Despite its relatively slow internet speeds, the telco boasts the country's widest coverage of 3G and 4G services. Its closest competitor, Telecel, has the lowest data speeds.

    The largest medical institutions in Zimbabwe are non-governmental organisations, which account for the bulk of the country's healthcare budget. Having a reliable internet connection is critical for the operation of large scale data based applications. These applications include telemedicine, electronic medical records and patient monitoring.

    The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to address the challenges facing the nation's healthcare sector, as well as to improve overall efficiency. The best Internet of Things solutions could be deployed in a variety of ways, such as data sharing between healthcare providers. This type of system could also be used to identify high risk patients. It may also prove useful in disaster management scenarios, as it's a proven fact that connectivity can play a role in reducing the severity of such incidents.
    ICTs' impact on the education sector

    Despite the positive effects of ICTs on social development, Zimbabwe is falling behind other African countries in integrating ICTs into the education sector. This study explores the impact of not integrating ICTs into the curriculum in schools and universities in Zimbabwe.

    Students are exposed to different ICTs risks such as cyber-harassment, inappropriate content and strangers. Moreover, parents do not have the skills and knowledge to monitor their children's cyber activities. Hence, this study recommends a multi-sectoral approach involving government, the private sector and peers.

    Using an action research method, the study examined how ICTs can be used in rural secondary schools in Zimbabwe. Specifically, the study examined how Computer Studies can be implemented in rural schools.

    The study found that Computer Studies is a viable curriculum innovation. This is a technical subject that equips rural school leavers with skills and knowledge to contribute to national development.

    However, there were some challenges associated with the implementation of Computer Studies in rural schools. For example, most schools did not have access to electrical power supply. Additionally, teachers did not use computers in their curriculum. This is a problem because computers familiarise teachers with computer hardware and software. They also help to reduce the need for computer technicians in schools.

    The study argues that Computer Studies should be included in the curriculum in rural secondary schools in Zimbabwe. It is a vocational subject that contributes to the national economy and offers employment opportunities to graduates.

    The study suggests that in order to overcome e-Safety challenges in schools and universities, education should be the core of the strategy. Teachers should be trained on technology integration and create a cooperative environment for sharing content among learners.
    Lack of incentives for informal innovators

    Developing a technology ecosystem in Africa has been challenging. The continent is lagging behind in a number of areas. A major challenge is the loss of tech talent. A thriving tech sector could help boost the post-pandemic recovery and promote economic growth in the region. In addition, new technologies can improve education, food production, and health care. And tech innovations can protect the region from the worsening climate crisis.

    Developing a tech ecosystem in Africa also requires diversifying funding sources. Tech startups will need to address the challenge of accessing competitive regional markets. Africa is significantly more expensive to trade with than other regions. Investing in R&D on new technologies will help develop local competencies and create jobs in the region.

    To stimulate real innovation, African policymakers need to overcome challenges that limit growth. These include insufficient infrastructure and a lack of digital skills. A harmonised African market will enable citizens to access lower-cost digital content, while also increasing the returns on investments for tech providers. Developing an African tech ecosystem will also promote the skills needed to thrive in the new economy.

    Policymakers can address these challenges by developing a digital economic policy, which can open up markets and generate job opportunities for youth. Digital economic policy can also help governments improve public services and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Developing a technology ecosystem in Africa will also help protect the region from the worsening climate crises.

    Policymakers can also improve the business environment for tech startups by increasing access to finance. Innovation funds, such as those administered by the African Development Bank, can support the development of an innovation ecosystem. This will crowd in private sector investment and de-risk the tech-startup ecosystem.
    Government's ambitious plans to transform the economy

    During a presidential Iftar in April, Egyptian President El-Sisi gave a speech on the two biggest decisions the country has made in the last three years. He highlighted the two decisions as the government's ambitious plans to transform the economy.

    The most obvious is the government's ambitious plans to transform the nation's transportation system. A new $25 billion fund will support large-scale projects too big for existing funding programs. This plan will also inspire basic research and future proof investments, all while leaving a legacy of equitable transportation systems for generations to come.

    The government's plans to transform the economy include floating state-run national enterprises, a plan to list state-owned stocks in the stock market and increasing the percentage of the private sector in state-run national projects. These plans will not only stimulate economic growth, but will also open up a new market for foreign investors.

    The government has also started to make incentives for foreign investors, including easing bureaucratic barriers and managing business facilities. The government has also received generous deposits from Arab Gulf countries. However, the government's ambitious plans to transform the Egyptian economy will be only as successful as its ability to keep up with the demands of a rapidly growing population.

    The government's ambitious plans to transform the economy are expected to lead to an increased number of jobs, a more productive workforce, and improved living standards. Ultimately, these plans will transform the economy and ensure the long-term economic health of Egypt. The government's economic reforms will put Egypt back on track for the future, but it will take a strong vision and a commitment to change. The government's plans to transform the economy are expected to create the economic foundation for a vibrant, democratic future in Egypt.