Zimbabwe: Ecocash Steers Zimbabwe Closer to Total Financial Inclusion

29 March 2018

Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe has re-activated 'Swipe Into EcoCash', a feature that allows Ecocash customers who bank with StanChart reactivates 'Swipe into EcoCash'

The emergency of mobile money platforms headlined by EcoCash, OneMoney and Telecash- in order of market share has turned tables on banks as the mobile network operators took centre stage in driving financial inclusion in the country.

The mobile money revolution has swept across both the formal and informal sectors, solving the cash crisis problem on all trade platforms. Just providing a copy of identity card for registering for mobile money services has made services like Ecocash easily acceptable in all forms of trade unlike using traditional banking channels where banks require a lot of documentation which many people in the informal sector cannot provide.

The recent industrial report released by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) shows that Ecocash commands the highest market share of 97.2% ahead of Telecel's Telecash and NetOne's OneMoney who hold 1.7% and 1.1% respectively.

In the last quarter of 2017, the Potraz report shows that Ecocash recorded a 22.4% increase in active mobile money subscribers to reach 4.5 million from 3.7 million captured from the previous quarter. This effectively meant that Econet now controls 0.5% market share of the mobile money sector whereas NetOne and Telecel lost market share by 0.2% and 0.3% respectively.

NetOne were the second movers after realizing a 2.9% increase in its OneMoney subscribers to reach 52,940 in the last quarter of 2017 from 51,440 captured in the previous quarter. Despite owning more market share ahead of NetOne, Telecel saw a paltry 1.6% increase in its TeleCash active subscriber database.

Big leaps in active mobile money subscriptions were experienced in 2017. Mobile money provided an effective alternative to cash for making payments. The growth in mobile money subscriptions from 2016 is shown in Figure 13 above:

The Potraz report further shows that Ecocash's dominance can be accredited to its wide active mobile money agents network which spans across the country. In the last quarter of 2017, Ecocash's agent network grew by a massive 31% margin to record 26,247 active agents across Zimbabwe.

Telecel was the only operator to register a decline in active agent outlets. The decline in Telecel's active agent outlets is attributable to liquidity constraints as agents require a cash float to effect over-the-counter transactions.

The current cash constraints have spurred mobile money bill and merchant payments. In the quarter under review, airtime, bill and merchant payments increased by 49.1% to record $725,510,160 from $486,742,318 recorded in the previous quarter.

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