Africa Internet Stats > Site Links > Zimbabwe
Internet Usage and
formerly Rhodesia, officially named the Republic of Zimbabwe,
with an estimated population of 12,619,600 (2012), 150,803 sq mi
(390,784 sq km). It is bordered on the north by Zambia, on the
northeast and east by Mozambique, on the south by South Africa,
and on the southwest and west by Botswana. Harare (formerly
Salisbury) is the capital and largest city.
Internet Usage Statistics:
Internet users as of Dec/11, 11.5% of the population,
according to ITU.
population for 2012, according to US Census Bureau.
capita is US$ 640 ('11) according to the World
Internet Usage and
Internet Use and ICT in Zimbabwe
25 October 2011
The number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) has grown in the
last two years from less than 6 in 2003 to the present 27, due to
growing internet subscription by both the business community and
the general public.
Shadrech Nkala, chairman of the Zimbabwe Internet Service
Providers Association (ZISPA) said the increase was due to some
new members joining their organisation as Internet use in
business and other social activities kept on increasing. There
has been a significant number of internet cafes that have opened
shop in urban centres like Harare and some of them are almost
being overwhelmed by customers, according to Nkala.
A survey carried out by the Business Mirror showed that Harare
alone boasts of over 30 thriving internet cafés, up from
less than 20 some two years ago. Nkala attributed what he called
the tremendous growth in internet use among the public to a
desire by mainly the young generation to access the internet for
educational and entertainment reasons.Some of the major cyber
cafés in the city centre include Quick n’ Easy,
InTouch, DC Africa, Telco and the state operated ComOne.
Compared to telephones or the postal service, the internet
provides perhaps the easiest and cheapest way of communication
between Zimbabweans in the country and their relatives, some of
whom have gone abroad in search of greener pastures. The charge
for sending or receiving an electronic message swings from
between $200 and $250 a minute and all cafés allow
subscribers to spend a minimum of 10 minutes while an
international call costs between $3800 and $5800 per minute.
According to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
report, in 2002 Zimbabwe was recorded among the top 11 countries
with substantial Internet usage with more than 35 000 dial-up
Internet subscribers who had accounts with the country’s
six major internet service providers (ISPs) at that time. The
ISP’s included Africaonline, Ecoweb,Telconet, Zimbabwe
Online, Zimweb and ComOne. The number of people who actually
access the internet in Zimbabwe is now as high as 500 000,
however the continued expansion of internet cafes might be
hanpered by the high cost of computers.
At the moment the cost of a brand new personal computer
vacillates between a low of $5 million and a high of up to $12
million, depending on the brand of the machine.This year
government reduced the import duty on computer hardware from 15
percent to 5 percent, a happening Nkala and other experts in the
field, hoped would lead to computers becoming considerably
cheaper and easier to acquire.
The expansion of Internet cafes is attributed to the rapid
increase in the number of colleges that are exposing students to
computers at an early stage. The computer industry in Zimbabwe
has been characterized by huge growth in the past 10 years. There
were only about 10 computer companies in 1990, and today the
country boasts of more than 200 fully-fledged ICT companies.
Some cafés like the Quick n’ Easy Internet Cafe
company, which has three well-run and popular outlets in Harare,
have designed customer friendly packages that allow subscribers
to become members. Members pay subscriptions of 10 hours or more
in advance and they then enjoy special discount rates and more
The UNDP report said there were over four million Internet
subscribers in Africa, with the bulk of them, over 60 percent,
found in Zimbabwe and South Africa alone while North Africa
accounts for more than 250 000, and the reminder in the other 50
countries on the continent.
Despite Zimbabwe’s deep economic crisis, now in its sixth
year, the country's telecom industry has been relatively healthy
over the past few years, with reasonable growth occurring in the
mobile and Internet sectors and a limited but slowly improving
telephone network. This research report from Paul Budde traces
the transformation from a monopolistic, state-controlled sector
to a liberalised, independently regulated market accompanied by
relevant statistics, market commentary, and profiles of the main
Africa - Mobile, Internet
and Broadband Reports
Get the latest information about Africa from the largest
global telecommunications research site on the Web.
Zimbabwe e-Commerce Background
October 29, 2004
While the rest of southern Africa has been carried forward on
the wave of electronic commerce (e-commerce), the development of
the phenomenon in Zimbabwe has been slow, hampered mainly by
reluctance and scepticism towards the emerging trend that has
totally transformed the face of global commerce.
Although it is not a new phenomenon to Zimbabwean business,
having been in existence for a number of years now, the
“e-revolution “ seems to be taking slightly longer
than anticipated to sink its roots in Zimbabwe.
A host of electronic and Internet-based services have found
their way on to the local market. Among them are electronic
banking, electronic money transfers, electronic bill payments and
electronic product purchases, while the cellphone
“craze” has also taken the country by storm.
But despite the vast scope of electronic information and
communications technology (ICT) services and their availability
on the Zimbabwean market, there appears to be an embedded
scepticism on the part of users to take advantage of their
Analysts believe this scepticism is veiled behind a number of
factors, key among them the country’s flagging
Currently in the midst of a difficult revolution, the banking
sector has struggled to strengthen consumer support for
electronic banking, though a number of banks have developed the
facility for their clients and have been using it for some
Ironically, the country is currently facing a critical shortage
of bank notes that could be greatly reduced were bank clients not
averse to electronic banking. “Hand 2 Hand”, an
electronic money transfer system enabling customers to transfer
money from accounts both within and outside the country, has also
remained virtually unknown and consequently under-utilised.
Delta Corporation and lately PG Industries have also both
developed systems that allow them and their clients to buy
equipment and supplies on-line, a measure that could
significantly cut down on the costs of acquiring raw materials
and supplies. But with all of these electronic services
available, the question still remains: why has e-commerce failed
to take off in Zimbabwe? “There are several factors
involved, but I would say the biggest problem is that the
marketing of electronic services and business solutions is
slack,” says information technology (IT) consultant Ishmael
Despite the fact that a growing number of the population is
computer-literate, their awareness of the opportunities that the
Internet presents for them is limited. Consequently, the bulk of
Internet use in Zimbabwe at the moment is e-mail related.
Out of a possible user base of about 4 million people, slightly
over a million have access to the Internet at the moment, though
other industry players argue that the number could be more than
twice as much. “The Internet is extremely under-utilised in
this country and you will discover that apart from e-mail, it is
used for very little else,” Dube added.
ICT companies have been shouldered with the brunt of the blame
for failing to raise awareness on the opportunities and
capabilities that exist for individuals and businesses that use
the Internet, either for marketing or carrying out their
As a result, in the quest to break into hitherto inaccessible
markets and customers, local businesses have failed to make use
of the Internet as a useful tool. This could explain why
e-services are not being used despite their availability.
“There definitely needs to be more aggressive marketing if
e-commerce is going to grow. Both the companies that provide
electronic business solutions and those that buy them need to
widen their marketing base,” said Ashley Moyo, managing
director of Zimbabwe Online (Zol).
A more aggressive marketing approach could solve the problem of
public awareness and at the same time improve the quality of
services available, as business solutions providers compete for a
larger chunk of the market share. The issue of information
security also comes into play. To make any transaction over the
Internet, one would need to include their personal information
and details such as bank account and ID number, information that,
in the wrong hands, could cause grave damage.
The high cost of developing business solutions is another factor
that could be restricting some potential players from joining the
fray. Electronic business solutions reportedly cost several
millions, a cost that many businesses currently regard as a
An electronically-based economy could revolutionise the way in
which people trade and improve income and quantities of goods
traded between regional trading partners. Zimbabwe is currently
struggling to retain its position as southern Africa’s
second largest economy, and a stronger base in electronic
business could do well to improve this position. The growth of
e-business could also reduce the gap that separates Africa with
the developed world, and possibly increase the level and quantity
of trade between the two regions.
While access to the e-revolution is limited, the huge scope of
the IT industry leaves a lot of room for the development of
stronger economies both in Zimbabwe and in southern Africa.
In a recent report, a software piracy watchdog group, the
Business Software Alliance, rates Zimbabwe as one of the
countries with the highest rates of software piracy. The Business
Software Alliance report says 87 percent of software used in
Zimbabwe is pirated.
Further reading on Zimbabwe:
Africa - Mobile Market Overview
and Statistics Report
Get the latest information about Africa Mobile Market from
the global telecommunications research site on the Web.
Most important daily news and information from
Zimbabwe Profile from the BBC.