Where others see a technological wasteland, Tarsus Technologies has uncovered substantial potential in Zimbabwean market.
Some would say the technology landscape of Zimbabwe is dire. Or that it should be. But, despite the challenging financial and political environment that affects every sector, the Tarsus Africa team is seeing growth and believes there is still a wealth of opportunity to be had in this country.
“We’ve had a good relationship with a number of resellers in the Zimbabwean market for many years,” says Jaco Roux, sales manager for the Tarsus Africa division.
“With the difficult economic trading conditions they’ve experienced over the past few years, the size of the market has understandably not been that big. Despite that, resellers have kept investing in their internal skills and certifications and kept the partnerships going.”
However, it is not a simple situation – due to the lack of forex and a difficult political environment, few corporates and large entities kept pace with the major technology refreshes that the rest of the world underwent.
“It has been all about making do with what’s available and spending the bare minimum,” says Roux.
“The implementation of the dual currency system (USD and ZAR) in Zimbabwe has improved matters greatly and we’ve started to see significant growth in the Zimbabwean market. This has mainly been driven by the fresh demand from the international corporates and banking sector,” explains Roux.
While Roux admits that it will still take some time before the government has sufficient forex reserves to fund the IT needs in the education and other sectors, there are other urgent priorities currently such as health and basic services.
“As corporates start generating profit, we will definitely see some business from the SMB space as well,” he adds.
Roux says that the removal of visa requirements between the two countries as well as the removal of duties on most of the IT equipment categories has boosted the ability of the local resellers to conduct business.
The country still has very high local shareholding requirements when establishing a branch company, which prohibits Tarsus Africa from opening a fully-fledged warehouse operation.
“Currently, Zimbabwe is a stronghold market for HP and the brand has tremendous loyalty there. Even though it is incredibly difficult most of the time, HP’s warranty centres still manage to operate and support their customers,” says Roux.
Other brands like Dell and IBM also have support, especially in the corporate market.
Things are on the mend, however, Roux says it’s still a bit of a scramble with regard to the resellers in Zimbabwe – many have been dormant but are being reactivated.
“To speed this process up, we are registering and/or reactivating resellers from Zimbabwe at a high rate,” continues Roux. “Most of them are obviously opportunistic given the current market conditions, however, I feel this will soon sort itself out and stabilise like other markets.”
Tarsus is hoping that this type of progress will serve to encourage a much stronger and more widespread technical landscape, especially with high-flying brands like HP.
“And we believe that the influx of newer technology will not only contribute to closing the digital divide, but also to Zimbabwe’s economic growth and eventual recovery,” he adds.