Entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe: Silicon and pine

IT IS easy to guess that Limbikani Makani and Joseph Bunga are technology entrepreneurs. They talk faster than regular folk; they buzz with ideas for half-a-dozen ventures, aside from those they already run; and they are at work on a Saturday.In the wake of President Robert Mugabe’s re-election in July, some speculated about a return to the Zimbabwe dollar, which collapsed in 2008 under the weight of hyperinflation. The two tech gurus ponder innovations that might emerge if such dark times returned. Perhaps a smartphone app that works out what to charge in the afternoon based on prices in the morning. Or one that uses GPS technology to direct motorists to petrol stations that have not yet run out of fuel.Mr Makani is the boss of TechZim, a news website for computer buffs, which makes money from advertising, sponsorship and market research. Mr Bunga runs EatOut, which takes online bookings for 325 restaurants across Zimbabwe. Both are part of a new breed of entrepreneurs that started businesses after the American dollar was adopted in 2009. Capital was then scarce and interest rates high, as they still are, because local savings had been destroyed by inflation. But an entrepreneur with a little daring might make a killing as the economy recovered.Opportunities for tech start-ups have gradually opened up. Around a third of the population now has access to the internet, says…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/business/21587805-regardless-uncertainty-zimbabweans-open-new-businesses-silicon-and-pine?fsrc=rss|bus

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