(CapitalMag) From January 15th, 2019 to January 17th, 2019 the Internet in Zimbabwe was shut down with ISPs and Mobile Operators receiving instruction from the Minister of State for National Security, who invoked the Interception of Communications Act.
The internet plays a vital role to trade and commerce in Zimbabwe, with Ecocash and Social Media contributing to about 80% of Business-to-Consumer.
Most SMEs in Zimbabwe use WhatsApp to sell, promote and market their products, and the transactions are processed via Ecocash.
Zimbabwe’s SMEs sector processes much of its transactions via the Ecocash Platform, and an estimate of $12.5 million a day has been lost in revenue each day of the National Shutdown.
Based on an estimate of average transactional value, Ecocash has since inception processed $23 billion dollars in transactions for the last five years, and a day’s average value is $12.5 million.
More than $10 million in value of Ecocash transactions is moved in a day in Zimbabwe as vendors, small business owners, consultants, small retailers, and larger businesses transaction in small amounts of money as revenue and expenditure.
Today, Internet was switched back on with the exception of Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube, and Instagram, that remain shut down to the masses.
Despite there being ways around the VPN blocking, most have no time to recover from the damage down to the small household, small business, and vendor that relied on Ecocash and WhatsApp for business.
If the shutdown continues for another week or two more that 2 million SMEs will either need to adapt to new technologies for their Customer Relationship Management or close down as it were.
Never mind lovers and family communication, but there is a sizable number of SMEs in the Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) businesses that have since faced the pinch because of the shutdown.
Whilst politicians are fighting, nationalists and opposition, the adult mass has been forced to become entrepreneurs and operate small businesses, whose potential revenue is under threat as the showdown continues.