If you haven’t watched Trevor Ncube’s interview with Brian Nichols the USA’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, I highly recommend that you do so. The interview touches on a number of topics including sanctions and corruption.
Around the 25 minute mark, the interview touches on something that intersects with Techzim – that is the internet shutdown of January. After Trevor Ncube argues that sanctions are affecting the perception of investors, Ambassador Brian Nichols argues that the actions of the government are scaring off investors, not sanctions.
He backs this up by giving an example of a company that immediately changed its mind regarding Zimbabwe after the internet shutdown:
One median investor wanted to start a lifestyle media company here and when the internet was turned off in January he said, “How can I run an internet based lifestyle magazine here when you can turn the internet off?”Brian A. Nichols – US Ambassador
At the time, we called out the government for this absurd decision making but they doubled with Presidential spokesperson saying that the internet would be shut down again if necessary.
Of course, this has become a worrying trend in many African countries but the point the ambassador makes it pretty self-evident. Even outside of investors the shutting down of the internet affects local businesses like ourself, and people who work in interner first professions will find themselves out of luck. What will an extended shutdown mean for developers and the like?
With the anti-sanction march coming up on Friday, it is quite sad that our politicians continue to refuse to look in the mirror and acknowledge that corruption and recklessness have done more to hurt Zimbabweans than sanctions. And marching won’t change a damn thing…