The internet has become an integral part of our lives, which has only intensified during these times of self-isolation and social distancing. Terrens Muradzikwa, a digital entrepreneur from Zimbabwe and an MBA student at Said Business School on the Rhodes scholarship, talks to us about the impact of digital technologies in Africa and the creation of the Zimbabwe Covid-19 Support Hub.
We live in a time, which some call the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a period that is transforming our lives, reshaping the economy and changing the social and cultural contexts in which we live. Terrens interest in the role of the internet and digital technologies in society and economics, led him to Oxford to study for a MSc in Social Science Internet at the Oxford Internet Institute combined with a MBA from the Said Business School (through the Oxford 1+1 MBA).
“I believe that digital technologies, when carefully managed, can improve people’s economic lives. For example, they can increase accessibility of financial services to millions of people without formal banking facilities and also facilitate flow of information between small-scale businesses, thereby increasing trade and access to markets.”
Terrens’ research included regulation of the mobile money industry in Kenya, impact of internet access and lack thereof in the developing world, and the effects of digital technologies on economic development. Now as an MBA student, he is exploring the application of his research in the business and finance world.
Concerned about the spread of fake news about Covd-19 in Zimbabwe and limited access to reliable information about the virus, Terrens co-initiated the Zimbabwe Covid-19 Support Hub with four more students in Oxford and other Zimbabweans based in the country, Botswana, Germany and the UK. The website aims to provide accurate information and facts about the virus from government agencies, the WHO, and doctors. The information is translated to threelocal languages to support public awareness. The website has reached over 200,000 people in Zimbabwe and bought together 30 volunteers across the world, working virtually to support and amplify local efforts to respond to Covid-19 by sharing information, contacts, and by pooling in one place community fund-raising efforts.
“I urge everyone to contribute in ways they are comfortable with. This can be checking on fellow students and work colleagues, sharing tips with family and friends, providing economic support for those severely impacted by the lockdowns and carrying out important medical research. We will get through this together.”