Econet appoints CEO for EcoCash


FEB 25,2013.


Econet Wireless (Econet) has appointed Cuthbert Tembedza as chief executive solely for EcoCash, indicating growing confidence in the mobile money transfer business.

Tembedza, who has been with the mobile network operator for two weeks, said he had a “vision of where the brand is going.”

Launched in 2011, EcoCash now has more than 1,7 million registered users and transacts approximately $100 million monthly through agents. It is currently Zimbabwe’s largest mobile money transfer platform.

Tembedza said the timing of his engagement with the group was strategic as EcoCash was partnering banks, a move which boosts transaction volumes.

Yesterday, Econet — the country’s largest network operator — announced a new mobile banking direct partnership with Stanbic Bank (Stanbic). The partnership enables Ecocash subscribers who bank with Stanbic to move funds between their mobile money wallet and bank accounts through cellphones.

So far, three banks have been integrated into the EcoCash system.

“Users of the service can also check the bank balance and get a mini-statement all via EcoCash,” said Darlington Mandivenga Econet Services chief executive.

A transfer from the mobile wallet to a bank account is treated as an EcoCash cash out on which a two percent tariff applies. 

The maximum cap is $6. Balance and mini-statement inquiries will be free of charge.

Tembedza is coming from heading the Africa operations ofBankservAfrica, Africa largest payments company. Before heading BankServAfrica Tembedza was an SME Banking specialist with the World Bank.

We had the opportunity to speak with him briefly after today’s EcoCash – Stanbic integrationpress conference, so we asked him what he will work on in his new role. His response, in summary is that he’s come to regularise EcoCash so it plays nicely with everyone.

Here’s what he said:

EcoCash is almost getting to a level where it a national product. It is a national asset but it has to be shared by with all the institutions that are available. And for it to run like that there are certain regulatory requirements that it must meet. There are certain international and local regulatory standards that it must achieve, and we cannot afford to continue to see at as just another part of Econet. So we really need to give focus, we need to give it the attention that it deserves.

My role really is to drive the business of EcoCash, ensuring that the partnerships such as the one that we are here for today and the relationships with the rest of the banks. And it’s not just banks; it’s any deserving institution that would like to participate.

If you look at the history of successful payments business, it has to play in a neutral role. It has to be open to all; there’s no profit competing on infrastructure. We believe that the banks and the rest of the customers that come onto EcoCash should compete on the customer front. We should facilitate them to do that business. And I’m really here to make sure that happens.

I have seen some debates where there’s a feeling that EcoCash is not available to some and available to some. The position that we have taken, and this is the strategy that I’m here to drive, is that EcoCash is here and it’s available to everybody. So, every institution that is deserving and that meets the requirements and standards that we are setting for this platform, and that are expected by the regulator, should participate.

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