#MondayBlues: The Next Millionaire is Not a Zimbabwean Startup!

Zimbabwean startups and ICT players have seriously upped their game to position themselves with the global tech trends as they prepare to harness the serious opportunities brought by technologies.

=The government through innovation drive fund , NGOS and private sector have also greatly moved in to play a supportive role and creating a conducive environment for startups by providing basic funding and, training and mentorship to bootstrap startup environment in Zimbabwe.

By Toneo T Rutsito

The major problem, however, is that the mindset of most of these players is still thinking very small, with most Zimbabweans creating solutions that will only allow them to survive in the interim.

TechnoMag has done more than a hundred reviews of upcoming startups, and very few of these are long-term ideas that are likely to impact the nation at a large scale, while potentially turning around the fortunes of the creators.

Zimbabwe as a nation has a multitude of problems that technology could solve and there is a general blind eye applied by most creative when they build solutions around technology.

Regionally, in Africa, Nigeria and Kenya have managed to bring up outstanding and sustainable tech projects because the players have created bespoke solutions to problems that are affecting their own communities.

Instead of asking young players to go behind their computer screens and start coding softwares to pitch up and get financial assistance, venture capitalists and potential funders should seriously look into a new way of stimulating this potentially explosive sector.

It would be more appropriate to actually take coders, entrepreneurs and business players into communities and actually read the situation first hand from the streets and communities, then allow them to go back and create bespoke solutions.

Different cities, town and rural areas in Zimbabweans have their own problems and such should be the solutions the nation should come with.

We are not at all excluded from creating global solutions, and simply need more innovativeness to bring unique solutions which ultimately the world can use

Our Social, political and economic environment provides serious new and unique opportunities which we need to focus technological problems to answer to.

One such sad and sorry state is our transport system where a handful died during the clash between errant commuter omnibus drivers and rogue traffic police officers which were involved in cat and mouse games.

A simple technological solution could be put in place which is enabled to trace, track and report a transport offence instead of chasing these commuters in public at the expense of citizens.

Any registered public transporter can be given a transponder which automatically reports wrong loading, parking or basic traffic offence, with the owner of the vehicle instantly being sent traffic fines without risking Zimbabweans.

Past Cholera outbreaks could be easily monitored and regions contaminated if an e-health application could be used to monitor certain regions and personal health alerts could trigger server alerts to even detect a certain fever before an outbreak hits a city.

ZESA, our national power supply authority to date does not have a known load shedding program, which even if they have, only ends in the main print media, with a few getting access to it, while an app could have helped to ring an alarm minutes before the shutdown as a reminder, and also as a signal for a comeback to avoid power surge.

Hundreds of our rhinos were lost in a massacre when poachers poisoned them with cyanide, but the loss of wildlife could have been prevented by simple GPRS trackers to monitor these endangered species.

The ZRP has officially admitted to traffic crimes seeing rogue police officers mounting personal road blocks and extorting unsuspecting individuals, even willfully violating the law, and years into the problem, technology has not yet solved this problem.

Of course, thousands of such solutions could be availed but without willing power from the authorities, the efforts as well will still come to a nought, authorities will still need to be persuaded to accept such solutions as a national agenda.

I could go on all day to identify daily problems which we expect technology to solve, yet the impact of such solutions are huge and rewarding

When we manage to shift our thinking towards homegrown solutions then Zimbabwe is closer to creating own millionaires using simple technology to transform daily lives.

Technology for the sake of technology is meaningless; I usually borrow this profound statement by a renowned information security guru, while the statement always remains true.

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