AT least $100 million monthly is being transferred from the country’s urban centres to rural areas through Econet Wireless mobile money transfer EcoCash resulting in a significant impact on the rural economy.
Figures released by mobile phone operator Econet showed that millions of dollars were being moved into rural areas.
The money is being used to buy goods from local shops and to pay for services, including school fees. EcoCash has been opening up new economic possibilities for people in rural areas who up to now have struggled to see money circulate to them. Econet Wireless Services chief executive officer Darlington Mandivenga said the observations were in line with other countries in Africa that have similar services.
“Mobile money benefits people in rural areas. It helps them access financial resources even in very small amounts and this all adds up to a healthier economy all round,” he said.
Mandivenga said liquidity was a big problem because when people receive money via EcoCash, they sometimes find it difficult to get the cash from local agents.
He said Econet was tackling the problem with its usual innovative approach.
“We are solving this problem by getting traders to accept payment in EcoCash and then get their money from us,” Mandivenga said.
“We are systematically tackling these problems and the growth of the amounts being transacted shows people are gaining confidence.”
Mandivenga said Econet was now working on introducing a platform for people in the Diaspora to send money home.
“Within a few months, we will make it possible to send money from anywhere in the world at a fraction of the current cost and in an instant,” he said.
Money from the Diaspora is key to fuelling economic growth, but a lot of it never gets into the country because it is taken up by middlemen. Econet believes that money from the Diaspora would double or treble if a cheaper and faster solution was implemented.
This alone could eliminate problems of liquidity in the country and further boost economic recovery.
“We know its importance to the country and we are working hard on this solution,” he said.