Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

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On second thoughts, Africa’s tablet computing boom is inevitable

The proliferation of mobile based internet access and the evolution of traditional broadband services from niched to mainstream products, is transforming developing economies and their place in the knowledge economy. In the developed world, the death of the consumer PC segment is now almost complete.

ICT Africa 2011 versus Econet’s Experience Expo

A few weeks ago we learnt that some local ISPs were considering not exhibiting at ICT Africa 2011 after finding out that Econet Wireless had snapped up 23 stands for the event, thereby dwarfing every other exhibitor by an epic scale. Things like this happen and are not surprising. However I was very disappointed by yesterday’s supplement featuring companies that are exhibiting at the event.

The EcoCash launch event

Last night, we attended the official launch for Econet’s EcoCash mobile money service. Even though the event started some 40 minutes late, there was a series of polished presentations, the highlight being the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Governor’s participation as guest of honour.

Itllusion’s mobitones VAS. Our brief take on it

Not too long ago, we had a meeting with Nzwisisa Chidembo of Itllusion to know more about his start-up. The start-up is a mobile Value Added Services provider that has divided its offering as follows:

Umuntu Media plans to conquer Zim & other Southern African markets

Umuntu Media, an online content provider based in South Africa recently raised $1 million series A funding from Netherlands based E Ventures Africa Fund (EVA). It launched in January, followed this up with earlier this year and also plans to roll out similar portals for Angola. Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe very soon.

World of Avatar acquires MXit

World of Avatar (WOA) has just acquired 90% of the legendary South African mobile social network and chat application, MXit. According to Memeburn the deal is valued at a reputed R500m(USD $71 million) and also involves Craig Knott Jnr taking over as CEO of MXit.

Africa’s Telecoms Titans: Globalcom

Having begun in 2005, Globacom is one of the youngest operators on the African continent today, it is also the fastest growing. In Nigeria the firm went from being a Greenfield player to overtaking established incumbents like Airtel where mobile is concerned. The company is a full service telecoms player in the Nigerian market as it was granted an SNO (Second National Operator) license that covers the full spectrum of telecoms services. It operates a fixed line business, mobile networks, data services and was the first operator in the world to single handedly build its own undersea cable (GLO 1) stretching from London and covering West Africa’s coast. strikes new deals

Gikko, a start-up we featured here not too long ago has continued to gain ground with its offline & online thrust. The start-up recently concluded a nationwide deal with OK Supermarkets and has begun running a competition across most stores. It has also sealed an extended partnership with TM which will see its flagship till slip advertising having a presence across retail outlets owned by the retailer. The last time we sat down with Winston Taylor of Till Roll Ads (the company behind, he ran us through his company’s holistic presence on the web, mobile and offline.

Double Standards: Why Facebook should be locked out of China

For those who don’t know it yet, China is now the second hottest hub for startups and internet based enterprises in the world ( after Silicon Valley). Investors and entrepreneurs everywhere you think of are cracking their heads to figure out a way to be a part of the world’s biggest market by internet users and most other metrics.

Econet shows us how a social media campaign is done

We have just been informed that Econet has begun running a Facebook campaign for its eTXT service. Econet has had some misses publicising and advertising its internet products but this one definitely looks executed quite well so far. It appears Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile operator has found some brainiac to guide them!

ZOL Start-up Challenge: Predict and win competition winner

Thank you for the overwhelming entries to everyone who participated in the ZOL Startup Challenge – Predict and Win competition. The winner of the 1.5GB ZOLspot voucher is Simbarashe D.

ZOL Startup Challenge Finalists: FUNZA

Funza is an online recruitment platform targeted at grassroots recruitment. It is the only concept stage startup to qualify for the finals. Escar concludes will also provide its development, placement and consultancy services in the greater sub-region.

Financial Express: a startup takes aim at Goliath

Not too long ago, Kabweza and l met Tommy Deuschle of Big Africa – a start-up that has gone through many pivots. According to Tommy, the current focus of the company is to become a virtual startup/business accelerator by leveraging on the power of relationships in business. His aim is to create a self sustaining network of businesses that compliment and consolidate each other. One of these startups that Big Africa is a part of is Finx (Financial Express).

ZOL Startup Challenge Finalists: Softwarehouse – Hardware Inventory

Hardware Inventory is a proprietary Windows based application developed by Softwarehouse, a local startup that began on the back of their Quickstem Suite-a floriculture management software that has been used by farmers in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, and the Netherlands among others. Quickstem was beginning to gain traction until the global recession resulted in less demand for the product, combined with local challenges the flower growing sector has faced locally.

Africa’s Telecoms Titans: France Telecom-Orange

Orange is the key brand of France Telecom, the world’s 5th largest mobile operator by subscribers. France Telecom is a converged communications provider with a large presence in the mobile space and diverse fixed line, content, infrastructure, venture capital and value added services. The operator’s roots stretch back to the 18th century. It has evolved from a state owned monopoly into a top 5 global telecommunications player.

ZOL Startup Challenge Finalists: Ribe Networks

Ribe Networks is a local chat application that has set its sight on disrupting internet based messaging. It intends to do so by offering users across all mainstream mobile and pc platforms the ability to interact with peers through the lightweight and locally hosted Ribe Chat application. Users can link their Ribe account to Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, MSN, Yahoo Mail and others.

Startups: The International Telecoms Union is waiting for your pitch

Two weeks ago, ITU (the International Telecoms Union) launched a global competition that seeks to give 60 Young Innovators and Digital Innovators the chance to travel to its flagship event, ITU Telecoms World in Geneva (October 24-27). Entrants will be able to pitch their ground-breaking ideas to leaders of the world’s ICT industry. Techzim would have wanted to publish this sooner however we have just found out about it. And it’s not too late!

ZOL Startup Challenge Finalists: Mukela Travel

With just ten days left before the ZOL Startup Challenge finals, this short series will profile each finalist in the challenge, exploring what they hope to achieve and how they intend to do so.  Team: Tawanda Sibanda, Vimbai Hungwe , Takudzwa Mhlanga Sector: e-Tourism Product Summary: Online reservation and hospitality management Product Status: live Mukela […]

Electricity infrastructure & ICTs: Zesa’s 31% tariff increase

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has come up with what it believes is a grand plan to vanquish power cuts (also known as Load Shedding) from the great lands between the Limpopo and Zambezi river. After much thought and strategising, the engineers and boffins at the parastatal have come to the conclusion that a 31% increase of tariffs is the answer.

Android powered Internet boxes can transform Africa

In the 21st century there’s one gigantic reality that many aspiring inventors bump into; there’s not much left to invent! While this may be so, the focus now (more than ever) is on building on what’s already there to solve humanity’s challenges and/or making life simpler. Groupon exploded onto the scene by tweaking a traditional coupon concept and panel beating it for the 21st century, the iPad (and “others”) squeezed laptops into a handheld wonder, while social networks took traditional human relationships online.

The faulty Africom modems

Africom’s ZTE supplied modems are having compatibility issues when connected to Windows Home 7 machines. The problem occurs when the connect button is clicked on the dongle’s menu, leading to that most hated of Windows menaces; a blue screen. We visited the Africom shop along Jason Moyo Avenue on Friday and were immediately surprised by the lack of staff at the often congested shop.

FBC Bank introduces MasterCard Prepaid services

FBC Bank has begun offering a MasterCard Prepaid service that enables locals to shop online across various platforms worldwide. In a campaign dubbed ‘Load & Go’ the bank initially introduced the campaign through the endorsement of local music icon; Oliver Mtukudzi, advertising the service’s access to leading merchants around the world.

Africa’s Telecoms Titans: Orascom Telecom Holdings

Orascom Telecom Holdings is a global telecoms operator based in Egypt and is now majority owned by Vimpelcom Group. The company is part of Orascom Holdings, Egypt’s biggest conglomerate and the commercial vehicle of Africa’s wealthiest family.

MTN rolls out Africa and Middle East Apps Challenge

MTN Group- Africa’s biggest telecommunications firm; has introduced an Africa and Middle East focused app development contest. According to an article by Business Day South Africa last week, the company has begun the challenge as part of a build up to the launch of its own app store. It is inviting software developers across its operating markets and beyond to submit innovative applications that are built on or address African and Middle Eastern experiences.

Zimbabwe in top 10 African ICT hubs of the future list

According to a survey conducted by African Business Panel and echoing the sentiments of 800 business professionals across Africa, Zimbabwe is expected to be among the continent’s top 10 ICT hubs out of a total 53 states in the next five years. The report was released in Amsterdam last month and pinpoints South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya at the top of the rankings. South Africa has traditionally been a gateway to Africa for most international ICT firms and has of late been losing its glow to Kenya which among other things is Africa’s first nation to have an open data policy.

Opera Mobile Report: Zimbabwe is Africa’s biggest growth market

According to a document known as The State of Mobile Report, published by Opera (the world’s leading mobile internet browser) and containing information for June 2010-June 2011; Zimbabwe was consistently ranked in the top 10 mobile internet users in key ranking categories along with Morocco.

BarCamp: Thoughts and contributions on building scalable startups & products

Wow! Wednesday was a great day to reflect on for us here at Techzim. BarCamp Zimbabwe; the country’s first grassroots ICT event finally came together. The event was made possible through the support of ZOL and other sponsors like Byers Design, Matamba Anonaka Technology Holdings, Webdev and Zimbojam. It was also the work of great individuals in the organizing team, notably; Joseph Manzungu, Lennex Zinyando, Christine Dube, Chengetai Chikwanha, Richwell Phinias, Richard Mberi, Larry Kwirirayi and many other people who helped leading to the event.

Zimbabwe paper’s questionable attack on Trustco

As Techzim we are obliged to promote debate and dialogue. We were surprised to read an article in this morning’s Daily News (A Zimbabwe daily) that we believe was not generous with facts. The article’s opening shot begins by describing Trustco as “a company that appears to talk very big about itself”, and proceeds to stage a series of assaults on the company, most of it factually incorrect and misleading.

Startup Challenge: What Applicants need to know about pitching

A lot of startup applications have been coming in for the US$ 25, 000 Startup Challenge which is being run alongside BarCamp Zimbabwe 2011. Since an event of this nature has not happened in Zimbabwe before, the following practical pointers can bring applicants and prospective entrepreneurs up to speed on the elements found in a good pitch:

Zimride: Silicon Valley Startup scouting for Zim talent

It’s not everyday that a startup based in Silicon Valley; the home of Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and just about every significant technology platform-eagerly looks to hire local talent. Well this is not just any startup, its Zimride! According to Logan Green; the startup’s co-founder and CEO, they are currently seeking to hire talent from around the world and Zimbabweans would be a great addition to the team…