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Zimbabwe start-up hub shuts down

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Zimbabwe , 23 Mar 2020
Businesses in Zimbabwe remain on high alert over COVID-19 given the country’s close ties with China and South Africa.
Businesses in Zimbabwe remain on high alert over COVID-19 given the country’s close ties with China and South Africa.

Standard Bank’s Zimbabwe unit has shut down the tech-focused Incubator Hub it runs in Harare as a precaution against the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Zimbabwe’s government has already issued directives to limit public gatherings, with health authorities confirming three cases that have tested positive for the virus over the past few days.

Stanbic Zimbabwe shut down the hub on Friday 20 March 2020, advising that it will review the re-opening status in line with developments around the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a precautionary measure in line with the prevention of the possible spread of COVID-19, we will be closing the Incubator Hub for a period of 30 days with effect from 20 March 2020, out of consideration for the well-being of our customers and staff members,” Stanbic said in a statement.

Other hubs for tech start-ups in Zimbabwe remain open , with some managers saying they were still assessing the situation and would consider shutting down if necessary.

Stanbic Zimbabwe has also been encouraging usage of digital platforms such as its banking application and internet banking.

However, some consumers continue to queue at banks.

One person in a queue told ITWeb Africa: “There are limitations to mobile money because there are some things you cannot purchase using EcoCash (the biggest mobile money platform in Zimbabwe) and that is why we have to come and try to get cash.”

Businesses in the country are currently trying to ensure internet connectivity for key employees to be able to work from home.

Mobile phone operator Econet Wireless has been criticised for the long customer service queues at its service centres in Harare.

The company responded on Twitter saying it has broadened online customer care platforms and options to include social media as well as live chat on its website.

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