Make Zimbabwe Great Again – A Framework To Transform Zimbabwe Into An Economic Powerhouse

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By Ty Moodley

Having studied and worked in the United States I have witnessed companies create wealth by coming up with creative solutions to problems we didn’t know we had.

In 1960, South Korea had the same economy as Southern Rhodesia. They were both Agro based economies. South Korea realized that the future was technology, so they invested in their Universities. Today South Korea is an economic powerhouse.

The world has changed. Once we can accept this then we can start adapting to this change. The question is, how and what can we do to succeed in this new world? Some readers are probably saying we don’t have a Samsung or a Hyundai. That is true. We do however, have an Econet.

We need to understand how this new world works. Manufacturing is done in China. It is very difficult to compete with China. They have people who can produce at a fraction of what most countries can.

The next question is what we can do in this new world. The answer is Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). I have personally seen jobs being exported to India and now the Philippines. There has been a massive training of programmers in the Philippines. American, Canadian, and Australian companies are sending jobs there because it now costs less money than India.

In my current job, we deal with programmers from the Philippine’s on a daily basis. I have asked them if they would like to migrate to the US or Canada and they have refused saying that they prefer being in their countries. What the government has done is helped to reduce the brain drain.

In 2010, the Philippines was declared the world’s BPO capital
525,000 employees in call centers
$8.9 Billion in revenue generated
Revenues are expected to soar with a five-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38%
The country continues to become an attractive location for foreign investor

According to the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), the Philippine information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) industry employed 776,794 people at the end of 2012, wherein it added 137,066 new jobs. This new intake reflects 21 percent growth from 2011.

In 2012, the BPO attributed 5.4% of the countries GDP. In 2013, revenues climbed to $15.5 Billion employing over 900,000 Filipino’s.In 2016, the BPO industry was projected to generate 1.3M new jobs, with 17% annual growth.

Zimbabwe is blessed with the highest literacy rate in Africa. We have great universities that are graduating software engineers. We also happen to speak English, the international language of business. This is a formula for success. We should seize this opportunity and start planning for the transformation.

Editor’s Note

It’s funny that when Techzim was in Kigali just this past week we noticed how the Rwanda government was creating this kind of environment that Zimbabwe already has but takes for granted. For example Paul Kagame invited the Carnegie Melon University into Rwanda and he subsidises for students to get trained in engineering. Rwanda since 2008 is moving (has moved actually) from French as language of instruction in schools and in business to English. Like it or hate it, English is the language of commerce

About Guest Author Ty Moodley

Ty was born and raised in Harare Zimbabwe. He went to Prince Edward School where he received a Technology Award at some point before heading to the US for university. He came back in 2004 to found a successful technology company that is still operational in Zim before going back to North America

He has been building software for the past 15 years and has worked for large software engineering firms in Harare, Austin TX, Raleigh NC, Toronto ON, Waterloo ON.

Ty has seen how software can help companies, cities, and governments create efficient processes and save money. He currently works for GHD, a large engineering firm that has over 10000 employees worldwide.  


  1. The Junta Is Failling

    100 Days of producing 100s of documents and Thouands of potholes

  2. wokenman

    So in Philippines their population is over 100 million and BPO has created 700000 jobs. While its good, its hardly gonna save Zimbabwe at that rate. And Philippines is also highly urbanized and very dense – zimbabwe IS NOT. You can’t just conclude that because Zimbabwe is highly literate this is an automatic fit. This no formula for success.

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      Is it the density and urbanisation that matters but the number of skilled people and the relevancy of those skills? Already Zimbabwe is exporting skills just that those skills are physically moving out of the country. With a more deliberate effort, Zimbabwe can attract outsourced jobs and it has started to happen, will update you.

      Rwanda by the way has 11 million people and it is in a worse state regarding urbanisation than Zimbabwe is

  3. Rhodesians Never Die

    The o lyrics way Zimbabwe will prosper is if it becomes Rhodesia once again.

  4. Ty Moodley

    I am product of Zimbabwe. Born in Zimbabwe and not Rhodesia. Educated for most of my life in Zimbabwe. I have seen countries transform. We have the best opportunity in Africa to change. This should be part of our 100 year plan. Of course it’s not the magic pill that solve all of problems but it will help all the brain drain. We need a diversified economy. Not everyone can or wants to farm. Not everyone wants to work on a mine. The world has changed. This is our opportunity. Or we can give and talk about how great Rhodesia was. Let’s build a country for all Zimbabweans.

  5. JamesM

    The author mentions South Korea as example of a country that went from rages to riches by building universities. Hellllooooo! South Korea like much of South East Asia put into practice what we seldom do here in Africa. Discipline & Dedication. They are fanatical about discipline and dedication and that’s what propels them forward more that anything. Walk into Pick’n Pay at Avondale shops, Riverside Mall, and watch the bakery and cooked meals section workers go about their work. They are like monkeys in a zoo. They are sloppy, indifferent, yell above everybody else when chatting to each other. No different from Econet workers one encounters at the telco’s Avondale shop. Same cavalier and indifferent attitude. More than anything else it’s attitude one brings toward any effort that determines its success.

  6. Ruki

    If you keep referring to people as monkeys, then you will continue to get monkey behaviour. Yes?
    Everyone can be taught discipline and dedication especially if they know and believe they too will reap the rewards. Monkey see, monkey do! Let’s try positivity for a change.

  7. TheKing

    I think Zim has the capacity to be the next outsourcing powerhouse. We produce a lot of graduates, all they need are good internships to turn acquired knowledge into skills. I think the experienced devs who have been out of the country for a while should take a lead in such initiatives. I work for a US company that set up shop in S.A because devs are cheap in S.A and S.A is aligned to UK time(well, almost). Now if they say devs are cheap in S.A, what will they say of the price of devs in Zim?

  8. Sagitarr

    @TheKing – Zim produces a lot of graudates but the quality is generally su-bstandard. Whilst the rate of pay (not price – we’re not selling people) for a SA developer is “cheap” chances are you get solid, good quality software. Standards are still high in RSA and the business environment less toxic. We have lots of work to do in pulling up the standards and shift minds from Grade A theory into Grade A practice across the entire social spectrum. Employers want to pay good salaries in return for a proportionally good day’s work. We also need to move towards valuing time. A combi can almost fill up in two minutes but wait for the next 10 minutes for 1 “last” passenger. It’s a desperate mindset. Bananas are sold $1 for 10 what if I want 2? Just sell them at 10 cents each (unit price), the buyer will indicate how many he/she wants., again desperation.

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha