Google hosts tech developers in Zimbabwe

HARARE – Global online technology giant, Google – through its local chapter,  Google Developers Groups — hosted scores of web developers from the region in Harare over the weekend to interrogate latest technologies and their impact on Africa’s development.

The event, Google Developers Festival (DevFest), also looked into how Google technologies can be implemented to enhance the continent’s companies’ efficiency and operations.

During the DevFest, the plight of Zimbabwean companies, including those in the media industry, in accessing certain technologies such as reliable web-hosting was also highlighted, as the country lags behind in many technological advancements.

Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe  (ANZ) — publishers of the leading Daily News and Weekend Post — managing director Sharon Samushonga, said slow Internet speeds and high access costs also pose challenges.

“At the moment, in Zimbabwe we couldn’t find a web host for our website because of the size, and now we have to host it abroad, hopefully you guys are going to work out something, so that we are able to get hosting locally,” she said at event.

“Our Internet is slow, expensive and sometimes there is poor connectivity that you can’t do anything. I’m hoping this is a challenge that can be solved.

“We also have some machines that we use in the production of newspapers; one of it is the CTP machine, Computer-To-Plate. At the moment, in the country we don’t have people who have the technology to fix the machine. When it goes down, the people who have the technology to fix the machine are in South Africa,” Samushonga said.

Developers added that they were facing a tough time in getting foreign currency to pay for applications and web hosting.

“For my application, the back-end is hosted by Google, it’s a chat app called Fernweh. I just launched it on Friday. The data centre we have now is small and I don’t think they can allow me to do what Google allowed. When the money is due, how am I going send the money to them, this is constantly weighing on my mind,” said Anele Siwawa, a developer.

Computer Society of Zimbabwe’s Viola Dondo added that they were going to engage the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe on the foreign currency payments issue. – Daily News