Africa Exchange, probably one of the biggest event management company in Zimbabwe, through e-Tech Africa has been giving the traditional technology giant event, ICT Africa sleepless nights, has in an unprecedented move taken over the management of their erstwhile competitor, setting a new stage in ICT Exhibition in Zimbabwe.
Speaking to ICT suppliers Association treasurer Mr Harold Muvhuti, during their recent AGM, he said there was no conflict of interest what so ever and was happy with the progress they have made so far as an association.
Strange enough this is the same organisation they fought against, through serious stake holders lobbying, privately complaining that the government has taken over their mandate, though the efforts came to a naught.
#MondayBlues stumbled upon the interesting developments in Zimbabwe ICT sector,which was officially announced as a resolution during the recently held ICT Suppliers Association AGM.
In fact it’s so interesting to a point that the information may not make sense to someone who does not fully understand the history of the ICT sector and the cold wars that we dared never talk about .
Just to refresh your memory, Zimbabwe always had this single body of ICT players who for the past 28 years have been trading under the banner ICT Suppliers Association of Zimbabwe. These are the guys who came up with the Idea of ICT Africa exhibition, many years back since inception of the brand.
So ICT Africa exhibition has been this successful exhibition which used to run somewhere around October every year and I can clearly remember during its hey days it was the only event that would pack up HICC, and literally every tech company in Zimbabwe would fight its way through to be exhibiting on this day and literally every techie in Zimbabwe would make sure he passes through for a glimpse, next purchase or powerful networking opportunity.
Approximately 5 years back, the ministry of ICT Postal and Courier Services came up with a competing service, it was the birth of e-Tech Africa in Zimbabwe, and the private company which was meant to stir it forward, was Africa Exchange.(though rumors say its more instrumental)
We have nothing to take away from Africa exchange, The vision of e-tech Africa was very clear, back then, it was not just another local tech exhibition, it brought regional exhibitors across Africa when it launched 5 years ago, we felt the government had moved from becoming an opportunity creating player to become the competitor, since the benefits were obvious.
Africa exchange proved its salt was worth every grain, they put up a splendid show, from the right exhibitors, speakers and the crowd then boom! They had to co-exist as “competitor” against traditional giants , ICT Africa.
Probably the major difference between ICT Africa and e-Tech Africa was that the later were pro govt policies and wanted to explore more opportunities in tech with govt related arms, at least that was the only major distinction factor we got.
Last year the legends in ICT exhibition, ICT Africa had the worst showcase ever in history, while we do appreciate that economically Zimbabwe is facing a major slow down, their last exhibition signaled the death of a giant.
Their face was only saved by a clashing education expo event which was believed to be opened by the President, and this gave them good crowds and exhibition site otherwise the event would have been a major flop, just to be straight.
Probably that and a combination of other issues exposed them forcing them to compromise to lie in bed with a perceived strong competitor and young techs in the game.
Another school of thought would suggest maybe these two bodies did not even need to share the same event management company in the name of Africa exchange for a success but simply needed to go back to basics and accept the fact that our economic environment has shifted.
Our economic meltdown is not conducive for two ICT showcases happening at the same location and focusing on the same major exhibitors and same market although technically they may be planned differently ,ideologically they are the same.
Crazy as it may sound, it would have been ideal and made sense for these two parties to stage one big annual event , ofcourse economically it would not be viable so this idea would be flushed down before any consideration .
Officially here we are now, this is thus far the sector has taken us, and its amazing how fast things have changed and seeing these two dining together, at least this close.
This bring a new question :Where is their long serving president Mr Artwel Mkusha, hope his ICT spirit and passion is not dead otherwise it would be turning in its own grave, but that’s what time does to everything.