Econet-CBZ deal to boost financial inclusion

ZIMBABWE’S largest mobile phone operator by subscription, Econet Wireless, has entered into an agreement with the country’s largest retail bank CBZ in a bid to improve financial inclusion and the use of paperless money.

Report by Bernard Mpofu

Addressing a joint press conference in Harare yesterday, Econet chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni and CBZ Bank executive director Collins Chimutsa said the new deal would help tap funds outside the formal banking system.

Statistics show that at least $2, 5 billion is circulating outside the banking system.

“Econet has entered into a strategic partnership with CBZ,” Chimutsa said. “This CBZ-Econet partnership allows existing bank account holders to easily make payments from their accounts through Ecocash.

“At present, a number of Zimbabweans are operating without a bank account and by having this partnership on the Econet subscription of about seven million effectively means that we are now opening the banking services  to all Zimbabweans.” Mboweni said the agreement had transformed Ecocash from being a money transfer service to providing mobile financial services.

Ecocash was launched last September with official statistics showing that at least $300 million passed through the platform.

“We want to go further and develop products that are internationally based because technology knows no boundary.

“We are looking at more partnerships to come,” Mboweni said.
“In terms of the scheduled banks that we have lined up, (Darlington) Mandivenga (Econet Services CEO) is actually working with his team and various banking institutions. I think in the next two weeks you will see some movements.”

Official figures indicate that the level of financial inclusion — the proportion of the population using financial products and services — both formal and informal — remains low amid calls by monetary authorities to encourage banking institutions to offer virtual banking products. According to results of the government-commissioned FinScope survey, 40% of adults are financially excluded and only 24% are banked.

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7 Responses to Econet-CBZ deal to boost financial inclusion

  1. Mig December 6, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    these banks are silly – they don’t know that they are being sucked-in by EcoCash. why can’t they have their own financial inclusive initiatives. they have been claiming that they want to be inclusive for a long time. is it an admission of failure? be careful of monopolies like Econet & EcoCash!!

    • kru da da da December 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

      taurai henyu mdara

    • Wiseman December 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

      CBZ are silly, Econet are tapping into your domain movavhurira door? Econet already own TN bank asi vaenda ku CBZ. Vakuda ku monopoliser!

    • Danida December 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

      Sir,in strict wall street or if you like samora machell terms,the’re situations were you enter into a win win situation.cbz bank wants to get its nose ahead in the paperless/plastic money race.econet wireless has an established financial product in the form of ecocash and with an estimated $300m having passed through it,its only logical for cbz to partner econet a non commercial bank in an endevour to achieve their objectives.

  2. Dokota Amoorr December 6, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    Good initiative but the transfer fees are still too high. It cost less than USD0.1 to transfer money in Kenya using Mpesa and here I have to fork a hefty $1,50! Reduce costs and benefit from increased volumes and stop profeteering!

  3. james December 6, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    WOw Ecocash an CBZ gd move this may pave the way for payment service gateways

  4. Stompers December 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    Keep it up Econet.You have made my life easy.I no longer need to visit a bank when I need money.I simply go into ecocash and start transfering money from my bank account to my wallet.I will then walk to the nearest Ecocash agent and get my cash.

    Just improve your coverage in terms of the availablity of registered agents per geographical area, otherwise it will make no difference to a bank.

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