Zimbabwe’s Transactions To Go Cashless in 12 months, says Econet
Zimbabwe has in the past made international headlines for its domestic policies which don’t quite agree well with the international community, especially the Western Countries. Leading to various sanctions being imposed on the country. Resulting to the average Zimbabwean having to make do with a severe hyperinflation in the domestic economy; that made many people lose confidence in the country’s financial institutions.
This is exactly what Econet Wireless has set itself out to correct. Econet aims are restoring the people’s confidence in Zimbabwe’s financial institutions and restore a positive image of the country. Econet Wireless operates not only as a Telecommunications company, but also a mobile banking service provider. It has predicted that within the next 12 months, Zimbabwe is going to become the first country in Africa to use cashless transactions.
“In a year’s time, we do not expect anyone to still use paper money. It will resemble America or Europe where you no longer find people carrying cash bundles,” said, Douglas Mboweni, CEO at Econet Wireless.
Econet Wireless began by sending mobile payments in the NGOs initiatives to assist victims displaced by the Burundi war that ended in 2005. They came to appreciate mobile money payments as an effective way for sending humanitarian assistance to victims living in rural and marginalized regions.
“Providing people the ability to save is even more essential than credit. We are attempting to build a savings culture where people are urged to save, even if they merely have a dollar for transport, school fees and the doctor. A savings and credit infrastructure builds resilience,” said Strive Masiyiwa, founder of Econet Wireless.
Masiyiwa further said that in order for financial institutions and telecom companies to be able to reach the unbanked, it is prudent to come up with services that are affordable, practical and easy to adopt.
Econet Wireless established itself in Zimbabwe back in 1998, but in the midst of a lot of struggles. It later launched the mobile payment system after Zimbabwe’s economy collapsed in 2002. Currently, the telecom operates in 17 different countries including, South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, New Zealand, Lesotho, Nigeria and Kenya.