ZIMBABWE'S largest supermarket chain, OK Zimbabwe Limited, has become the first major retailer to be connected to EcoCash, Econet Wireless' mobile money service. OK has assumed an EcoCash "Super
-Agent" status, and will be performing agent services for EcoCash through its branches across the country. Under this partnership, every OK Zimbabwe outlet will now register customers for EcoCash and also perform cashing in and cashing out functions for EcoCash.
In a joint statement by Econet and OK Zimbabwe yesterday, Econet Services chief executive Mr Darlington Mandivenga said that their goal is to increase accessibility of EcoCash to as many people in this country as is possible.
"As the largest retail chain with 54 outlets, OK Zimbabwe has significant traffic in their stores, and we therefore saw the opportunity to provide EcoCash services in their branch network to cater for these customers," said Mr Mandivenga.
OK Zimbabwe chief operating officer Mr Albert Katsande said the partnership with EcoCash was in line with their foray into the financial services sector. The partnership is expected to attract some of the more than two million EcoCash customers to OK Zimbabwe branches.
"Naturally, the customers will find it more convenient to shop in our stores," Mr Katsande said. He added that the agent services would also introduce a new offering for their customers.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Douglas Mboweni said the move was in line with the company's desire to bring as many parties as possible into the EcoCash ecosystem. "We want to partner with as many players as is possible for the benefit of our customers", he said.
Mr Mandivenga said this is phase one of the partnership. "The natural development is to see OK operating as a merchant for EcoCash, which will enable customers shopping in OK to make payments using EcoCash," he said.
Commenting on the development, OK group chief executive Mr Willard Zireva said the partnership with Econet Wireless was welcome as it was in line with OK's goal of offering a broad range of financial services.