Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

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Are Zim enterprises financially excluded when they don’t want to be included? Only 14% apply for loans

Like with all other things in Zimbabwe, trying to answer the question of what the unemployment rate is is tricky. It depends on who you ask.  If we only count those who are formally employed with pension provision and whose taxes are deducted by employers, we arrive at a very high unemployment rate. We could […]

43% of micro to medium businesses in wholesale and retail, 5% in ICT and manufacturing.

The SIVIO Institute released a report on financial inclusion of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Zimbabwe and there are a lot of nuggets into the real situation on the ground in it. One of the first things that caught my attention was the industry representation of the businesses surveyed.  We find that 22% […]

Econet sending flash SMS now, essentially running full screen ads for their products

I have never opted out of receiving any SMSes from Econet or its subsidiaries. I know, I’m a crazy person. If you have never used an Econet line or if you opted out years ago and are rusty on the extent of the problem, Econet loves sending promotional texts. So why haven’t I opted out? […]

Connectivity problems in your area? The govt to help you solve them yourselves through community networks

If you’re reading this then you have internet access. Count yourself amongst the fortunate in Zimbabwe.  The latest figures from POTRAZ say the country’s internet penetration rate stood at 62.3% in Q3 2021.  62.3% may not sound too bad but consider that over 90% of internet usage in the country is via mobile data and […]

RBZ lifts suspension of bank lending with immediate effect. Talk about volatility

Everything is ‘with immediate effect’ with the Zimbabwean govt. Lending is unbanned as quickly as it was banned. It was only 10 days ago that we were surprised to hear that the government was suspending lending in the country. The ban on lending was extensive, preventing all financial institutions from lending to any individual, corporate […]

Govt says willing-buyer-willing-seller for forex but it’s more like fortunate-buyer-unwilling-seller

The Zimbabwean government has made it clear that the ZW$ is here to stay. Yes, they know that the local currency is in freefall but they reckon they can turn it around. In trying to do that it appears they are throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. While we all know that […]

BancABC distances itself from paper analysing the govt’s economic measures. Paper makes good points regardless

The Zimbabwean government did a number on banks, suspending loans that are responsible for a third of their revenues. We know that banks are trying to engage the authorities to see if they can’t find a better solution to the abuse of loan funds by the public. Banks are going about it in a civil […]

With lending suspended, banks will be okay but microfinance institutions likely to struggle

Still wild to think the government woke up one day and outlawed the activity that pulls in a third of banks’ revenue. The government suspended all lending in the country and financial institutions are scrambling to engage them with a view to changing their minds. Let’s look at how banks and other financial institutions will […]

POTRAZ shares updates on infrastructure sharing. Econet, NetOne, Telecel sharing towers at over 267 sites

Ah, the infrastructure sharing saga. For a long time, the government through the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ) pushed for it but it took many years for any deal to be struck. Econet held up the process but for good reason. When first proposed, infrastructure sharing looked like it would benefit their competitors much […]

RBZ on suspension of bank lending. Partly drawn loans are suspended too. What is the rationale behind these decisions?

It started with a short paragraph by the President. If we hadn’t been living in Zimbabwe for the past 2 decades we would have been more shocked – all lending by banks was suspended on the 7th of May 2022. In his speech, President Mnangagwa said, In order to minimise the creation of broad money […]

RBZ finally identifies actual cause of Zimdollar collapse but maintains old measures

When I first heard that the first step in problem solving is identifying the problem, I thought that was a bit condescending. Pre-teen me couldn’t understand how one could not know the problem they were trying to fix. By the end of my teens I was well too aware of just how difficult it can […]

Social media exaggerates and so should be regulated, says ZEC. No election rigging in most cases.

What a time to be alive! Never in the history of the world has an average Joe like myself been able to communicate directly with millions or even thousands of people. Now, armed with a budget smartphone I have ‘reach’ that even monarchs just a century ago could only dream of. The democratization/decentralization of the […]

Holding OpenView decoders makes you liable to arrest. Why do Zimbabweans still do it?

I think in some crazy way, entertainment is a human right. Whilst I have the superhero skill of being able to sit in the dark, doing nothing and thinking about even less happily, I still appreciate a good book, an intense thriller or an experimental album.  Once you have watched a series like Yellowstone and […]

The RBZ suspended InnBucks and Access Forex domestic transfers temporarily. Let’s discuss what that was all about.

In what came as a shock to most, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe ordered Simbisa Brands (Private) Ltd to cease operating InnBucks, its rewards and loyalty program (money transfer service) last week.  The RBZ was concerned about the money transfer service part of InnBucks. According to the RBZ, InnBucks did not have the necessary approvals […]

Elon Musk buys Twitter for $44bn, has many ideas including transparency on censorship decisions

Elon Musk made an offer to purchase Twitter less than 2 weeks ago, on the 14th of April 2022. The Twitter board of directors flailed about, contemplating ways of fending off the takeover.  However, as it became clear that Musk was serious about the offer, which valued Twitter at $44 billion, the board had no […]

Zim inflation highest in the world at 207% – Hanke. Official rate much lower

If you are living in Zimbabwe you don’t need telling that inflation is getting out of hand. It has been years since you purchased your groceries for the same price in different months.  Those who earn in forex currency were at one time shielded from this inflation but now prices are going up in USD […]

Here’s your chance to win US$100 playing the Zimbabwean made casual game – Super Java

Several reports show that about 40% of the entire global population plays video games. The proportion is 25% for the Middle East and Africa. A quarter of 1.6 billion people is nothing to scoff at, 388 million players roam these regions. Another misconception is that these players are young males who spend 18 hours a […]

WhatsApp improving group chats with ‘group of groups’ called Communities

WhatApp is just an instant messaging app but it feels like much more in Zimbabwe. We use it for way more than just that. It is an e-commerce platform, news and other content distribution channel, dating app, customer service channel and more to us. The problem with using a product/service for something it wasn’t meant […]

No, InnBucks is NOT phasing out USSD but service disruption came at worst time

Earlier this week through yesterday, the 13th of April, InnBucks’ USSD platform faced challenges. Users would get a message that the USSD service was not available. As a result users had to use the app instead to conduct their business.  InnBucks communicated that they were working with Econet engineers to resolve the problem in a […]

30% interest per month on a loan? The Zimbabwean credit situation improving but still the wild west

There is no such thing as a purely capitalist economy and like many, Zimbabwe is a mixed economy. However, we have flirted with socialism more than most with our ‘command’ efforts in recent times as an example.  We still have a somewhat limited free market though. Although the government loves to exert control in the […]

Econet’s Smart USD bundles are cheaper than MTN’s in South Africa. There’s much to discuss

Econet Wireless launched Smart USD bundles yesterday that allow customers to purchase voice airtime, data and SMS in USD.  Customers can buy this USD airtime either through the EcoCash FCA wallet or by purchasing physical recharge cards or vouchers. Said Econet spokesperson, Customers will be able to purchase the bundles via their EcoCash FCA wallet, […]

The crazy drama behind the High Court ruling ZIMDEF’s SAP software tender is illegal

In early 2021 the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) called for companies to bid to provide it with Systems Applications and Products (SAP) software. Companies made their bids and ZIMDEF picked one, Tano Digital Solutions, and thought that would be the end of that. Nope, it’s never that simple. One company challenged the awarding of […]

Govt says new ZWL$100 note (worth US$0.69) on the way shortly

The Minister of Finance, Mthuli Ncube announced the introduction of a new $100 banknote. The minister announced this through Statutory Instrument 68A of 2022. In early 2021 we got reports that there would be $100 and $200 notes following close behind the $50 note. At the time the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe denied those reports […]

Strive Masiyiwa’s daughter replaces him on Econet board

Just over a month ago, Econet Wireless announced that their founder, Strive Masiyiwa, was stepping down from the board of directors of the company. He had been on the board since inception in 1993 and the announcement closed the chapter on a very long and dramatic 29 years.  The Masiyiwa story at Econet is far […]

EU to force WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger to interoperate with smaller platforms. Sasai must be giddy

It is amazing that in a world of over 7 billion people of different nationalities only a handful of online platforms are popular. Such is the advantage first movers enjoy when they create platforms and amass millions of users before the competition even exists.  When the competition eventually comes it will have its fans but […]

Your router’s okay, it’s Liquid Home (ZOL)’s network that’s down: a rant on service disruptions

I know there might be someone who just got fibre and is furious right now. There is intermittent service on Liquid Home’s network right now and they have acknowledged it. I promise, this is not the norm, clearly something is wrong. You may have missed the notice. Said Liquid Home, Important Notice: Service Degradation Please […]

EcoCash Foreign Currency Account wallet cash-in service still suspended. Customer service staff confused

EcoCash allows users to have both a Zimdollar and a foreign currency wallet using the same phone number. So, if you have an EcoCash account, you already have the foreign currency account (FCA).  For now only two foreign currency accounts are available, the Rand account and the USD account. They work just like the Zimdollar […]

Google subsea cable lands in Africa, to improve internet speeds and lower costs

Sub-Saharan Africa is the least connected region in the world. GSMA research shows that only 28% of the population used mobile internet in 2020. Lucky for us, there is some investment going into changing that. Unfortunately for us, we aren’t bothered to do it ourselves, instead relying on American companies to step in. Google says […]

Pay a monthly fee to use a phone that you’ll never own? Apple thinks that could work

The business of selling phones used to be a simple one. A manufacturer made a phone and a customer coughed up the asking price, took the phone home and the business was concluded. There was some kind of warranty but for the most part, it was like buying tomatoes at the market. That’s pretty much […]

As commercial banks close branches, state-owned banks to open more branches at Growth Points

It used to be that if you wanted to interact with your bank you had to visit a bank branch. Right from the beginning, you needed to fill out about a million documents in person to open an account. You would leave that branch not sure if you were going to be admitted into the […]