Software has evolved and is still evolving at supersonic speeds. Some of the things software has made possible would have seemed fictitious had you thought of them some years back. Take Uber, for instance, that whole business concept has been made possible because of software. Uber has merely created an interface that connects ride owners and those looking for rides to move from point A to B. We’ve also been seeing a surge in the ownership and use of smartphones. Come to think of it there were no smartphones in Zimbabwe 20 years ago. It’s quite interesting but smartphones have made the development of apps spike in just a short time. Stories are awash all across the world of people making millions from developing apps – in some cases even young teenagers.
So today I’m looking at Zimbabwe; which apps does Zimbabwe need? Basically I’m talking about apps that I feel the Zimbabwean market is now ripe for. There are a lot of hurdles to be surmounted to push the mobile or web apps culture locally but I believe these ones are worth a shot. Take note that by ‘apps’ I’m referring to either mobile apps or web apps. The purpose of an app can determine whether it should be made available as a mobile app, web app or both.

E-Commerce Apps

The local market is ripe for e-commerce apps. I’ve always pointed out that e-commerce is a field laden with great business prospects. This especially applies to Zimbabwe where e-commerce is only just beginning. There’s inspiration and confidence to be drawn from looking at the success stories of Amazon and Alibaba owned by Jeff Bezos and Jack Ma respectively. There have been some gradual trends locally that have brought us to a point where e-commerce is worth a shot. People are now big on being online and have steadily warmed up to the idea of doing cashless transactions. We’re living in times where it’s commonplace for people to look-up products or services online. Mobile money transactions are also commonplace with Ecocash being at the top. Put all these trends together and you can infer that the time is ripe for e-commerce or online store apps. The success story of Fresh In A Box adds traction to the narrative I’m driving here. It might be a bit more time before we see all-inclusive e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Alibaba. For starters I think we can have e-commerce mobile or web apps for particular target markets.

Crowdfunding Apps

It seems the incidence of Cyclone Idai opened up an interesting trend in Zimbabwe. Driven by the desire to lend a helping hand many people instituted crowdfunding initiatives all over social media. In the majority of cases people leveraged on Ecocash services to mobilize funds from well-wishers. We also saw some people, particularly those in the diaspora, using crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe. Even aside from the Cyclone Idai disaster there have been a lot of crowdfunding initiatives ignited on social media. This got me thinking that it’s high time we have our own crowdfunding web or mobile apps. There are several of those in other countries and it would be most befitting to have home-grown ones.

Event Ticketing Apps

Zimbabwe is characterised by so many events every week. Every month there’s always a fair share of high profile or big events in different sectors or industries. What has struck me at most times is that for some of these events foreign ticketing platforms are used. Some of them are ClicknPay and Computicket; surely we can develop home-grown ones. I myself go to Christ Embassy Church and we have a chats and payments app called KingsChat. When we have international events a QR code-based ticketing system embedded in the app is used for one to gain entry using their phone. Of course access to our events is free but my point here is that this can be done commercially as a business. I’m talking about developing a mobile or web app event organizers can use for the issuance of tickets for their events. Some of the trends I discussed under e-commerce also feed into this line of business so I’m confident Zimbabwe is now ripe for that.

Music Hosting Apps

Appreciation for music in digital format has risen locally. Smartphones have played a role in that since people mostly listen to music on their smartphones or mobile devices. I’ve noticed that local musicians still struggle in realizing significant revenue from album sales. When you look at other countries it’s a different case altogether. Musicians make lots of money from digital downloads and streaming. In fact, aside from live shows, tours and the like, musicians make money from having their music digitally downloaded or streamed. This happens through music hosting apps such as Spotify or Apple iTunes amongst several others. The music industry is growing and is greatly improving locally. I believe it’s high time we have home-grown web or mobile apps developed for people to download or stream local music.
These are 4 of some of the web or mobile apps that I’m confident the local market is now ripe for. Thus this should serve as inspiration to those interested in developing apps. We are yet to see local millionaires or billionaires being made out of web or mobile app innovations so let’s get busy.