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Internet Usage and Marketing Report

Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, officially named the Republic of Zimbabwe, with an estimated population of 15,581,023 in 2023, 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:
6,759,032 Internet users as of June/16, 46.5% of the population, according to ITU.

Latest Population Estimate:
14,546,961 population for 2016, according to US Census Bureau.

Gross National Income:
GNI per capita is US$ 640 ('11) according to the World Bank.

Country Area:
390,784 sq km

Internet Usage and Population Growth:




% Pen.

Usage Source




0.3 %





3.6 %





6.7 %





10.9 %





11.5 %





46.5 %


Zimbabwe Search Engines and Directories:

The Zimbabwe Index from the Norwegian Council for Africa.

Zimbabwe links directory.

Zimbabwe Page
Zimbabwe Selected links, Portal Sites.

dmoz Directory
Zimbabwe regional directory.

Zimbabwe Basic Information
Zimbabwe statistics from the CIA World Factbook.

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Growing 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 surfing time.

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.

Related Articles:

Zimbabwe Telecommunications Report
Zimbabwe's economy continues to recover from a decade of recession under gross mismanagement by the country's political leaders. The normalisation of Zimbabwe's economy is reflected in the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) forecast of continuous annual GDP growth at around 4% from 2014 onwards.

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

June 30, 2016

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 existence.

Analysts believe this scepticism is veiled behind a number of factors, key among them the country’s flagging telecommunications infrastructure.

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 time.

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 Dube.

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 services.

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 luxury.

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.

Zimbabwe Newspapers Links
Most important daily news and information from Zimbabwe here.

Zimbabwe Country Analysis Brief
Zimbabwe Profile from the BBC.


Visit the The Africa Reports Page. More figures and updates become available all the time.

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