What is the first thing you think of when you hear Stock Exchange? Is it the sound of a hundred men and women screaming and yelling in perfect football stadium supporter harmony? Is it the sight of papers getting shredded off notepads and pens vigorously etching letters and numbers on the surface of papyrus in the manner the flint strikes the steel.
If movies taught us anything, the trading floors of a Stock Exchange are the most adrenaline filled and electrifying four walls of any building on the planet. Note my point of reference is Wolf Of Wall Street.
Then comes along a day like today when I managed to get an invite to The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. Finally I get to see the action live in High Definition and Surround Sound. I step into the building and…Silence. Well hang on. What’s the story here, to which my reply from the receptionist was, “Everything is now Digital”
If you live in a bubble you would have missed it that a couple of months ago the ZSE went digital and C-Trade was born. This basically opened up trading of shares listed on the ZSE to virtually anyone and you could register onto the platform using any electronic device including your mbudzi (Feature-phone) via USSD. Really nifty thing.
It was a fantastic move on their part to get more Zimbabweans involved in investment in the stocks and also to make life much easier to take part in trading at the comfort of your own home. However in other news the trading floor lost it’s fizz. The Digital push to allow trading online has brought an eerie silence to the once most adrenaline filled 4 walls of any building in Zim.
And it is not the first time that Technology has been guilty of making life dull and boring. If we take a look at Uber or Econet’s version of it, as exciting and convenient as it is, one might say it ruined the fun of chatter at the bus stop. Now the dude comes and picks me up at my gate and drops me off right at the door step. The thrill of meeting another person is no more.
Online Shopping is no better. Right there on my couch peaking at the TV ever so often I can shop around and in a couple of hours Mr Postman gives the knock, I respond with the signature and it’s back to my good ‘ol trusty couch. In some movie whose title has skipped my mind, a guy said in the near future the world will be at the mercy of a teenager locked up in their room with a laptop. Quite the most undramatic version of a world takeover if you ask me.
Nonetheless it caught me by surprise that a big, empty room is what has been left in the wake of a digital push to trading in stocks. So long screaming and yelling. Eggs have been broken but hey we got an omelet now!
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