Zimbabwe: Econet Drives Ecocash Adoption in Rural Zimbabwe
By Tintswalo Baloyi
ECONET Wireless, Zimbabwe's biggest mobile network operator, is driving the adoption of its successful mobile money offering into the rural areas in the country.
Natalie Jabangwe-Morris Head of Business and Market Development, said the move was buoyed by the overwhelming uptake of the EcoCash offering among locals, mostly in the country's urban areas.
The expansion of the service to the rural areas is premised on the fact that the majority of the country's 12-million population is rural based.
"We have ubiquitous plans to expand EcoCash, which includes the enlisting of brand ambassadors that will raise awareness of mobile money in the rural areas. These are our foot soldiers who will enhance our aim to drive the adoption of mobile money in the rural areas. A significant population of the country, up to 65 percent resides in the rural areas," Jabangwe-Morris said at the just-ended AfricaCom, the annual ICT summit held Cape Town in neighbouring South Africa.
The official hailed the overwhelming adoption of EcoCash since 2012, attributing it to the country's high literacy levels.
Zimbabwe's literacy rate is estimated at 97 percent, arguably the highest in the continent.
"This has worked well for us as people have been quick to adopt mobile money," said Jabangwe-Morris.
"EcoCash is the second fastest growing mobile money offering in the continent (after Kenya's M-Pesa) and contributes up to 43 percent in Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic Product," said Jabangwe-Morris.
"At least 230 million transactions have gone through EcoCzash.
Previously, 90 percent of the Zimbabwean of the population was unbanked but with the introduction of Ecocash, now, three years later, 3,8 million Zimbabweans have been able to access the sector," she added.
EcoCash is an innovative mobile payment solution that enables Econet customers to complete financial transactions such as sending money, buying prepaid airtime for yourself or other Econet subscribers and paying for goods and services.