Zimbabwe’s economic success lies in new technology

Phillip Chichoni

Last Wednesday, Apple unveiled the new iPhone 5, which has been eagerly awaited by iFans for several months. The latest model incorporates features that had been widely predicted by tech analysts, including a four inch Retina screen, a faster processor and a two tone design.

The new phone is 18% thinner and 20% smaller than the IPhone 4. In a big move, the phone features global 4G, which local networks are working on rolling out.

The battery has also been upgraded. I have been frustrated with my iPhone 3’s battery which didn’t last beyond a couple of hours while browsing the internet. This new one is estimated to last longer, with an estimated eight hours of talk time and 225 hours standby. The price being touted, over US$1,000 for the 64Gig model, will make me stick to my older model for a while until the Samsung or Chinese create an imitation.     


But we won’t stop appreciating the innovation that keeps on taking place at Cupertino (Apple HQ in California) even after Steve Jobs’ death. It’s that kind of innovative and creative thinking that can propel Zimbabwe forward faster than any half-baked indigenization,  agricultural or mining policies that Zimbabwean leaders are seized with.

My applaud goes to visionary companies like Econet and it’s ZOL subsidiary for their Jumpstart technology challenge. At this year’s edition, young Zimbabwean technologiy developers came up with new solutions and applications that included the following:

  • A  piracy-proof online electronic book distribution application
  • An offline directory which facilitates easy access to local companies
  • A lost and found application
  • Mtutor, an SMS based- Internet platform mobile tutor for junior students
  • The Real Livestock Marketing System that seeks to revolutionize cattle trading
  • A mobile based crowd sourcing application
  • A web-based service and application for soccer fans, called Football zone.

I hope the winners of this start-up initiative will use their prize monies wisely and develop viable products and services that customers can buy and use. The prizes amount to US$25,000 in cash seed funding and a similar amount in internet services.


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