So on Monday Econet unveiled it’s latest tariff price hikes for Data and SMS packages, an ongoing increase cycle that the company has been on in what we call the Datapocalypse (or Cyclone Idata if you prefer TechZim’s naming skills) and while there were the obvious one or two audible squeals over the internet, it’s become pretty apparent of where we are as far as data prices and airtime tariffs are concerned: we’ve gotten so used to the pain we don’t even flinch anymore, and that just speaks to the dire nature of our country’s economic situation and the living conditions of the average Zimbabwean.
Now of course Econet isn’t alone in its tariff hike, NetOne has already stated its own tariff changes and of course Telecel will be close behind. After all last week saw the USD – Zim Dollar/RTGS rate skyrocket, and the expected price changes that came along with it as fuel prices have gone up too. The price hikes, the relative hopelessness, these aren’t new things anymore. The average Zimbabwean might actually tell you articulate the situation better than anyone at TZP can, but as a tech-aligned online publication, it’s hard not to think about the continued toll on Zimbabwe’s tech ecosystem and industry that this situation has induced. From talented vibrant start-ups to the internet being someone’s daily dosage of news , information and education , all parts of our little world of tech falter everyday as even basic internet access keeps slipping out of the reach of many. But the thing is, we’re all too busy trying to survive that when the hits keep coming, we don’t wallow in the pain anymore. We can’t, how could we afford to? Basic survival is at the core of every Zimbabwean’s thoughts and efforts like tech, efforts meant to usher forth what the future of Zimbabwe should be, well those tend to collapse when most of us are trying to figure out how we can keep our families fed.
All we can do here at TZP is hope there’s enough of a spirit to continue that is still surviving in most of us, a spirit to aspire to learn, to push the next big startup project, to even find new ways to utilize our tech even in these harsh conditions to better our lives. Because the last thing we should do is let our suffering convince us that technology is a luxury, that internet access is not a right, or that these trying situation we tend to find ourselves in as a country are meant to last either. So yes, we don’t even flinch, but that don’t even care, and we definitely shouldn’t stop hoping either.