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‘Econet set to become a key financial services player’

ECONET, the country’s largest telecommunications company, is set to become a key player in the financial services sector riding on its mobile money transfer business, according to new research findings.

REPORT BY OUR STAFF

In 2011, Econet launched EcoCash to ride on its infrastructure network.

 EcoCash is modelled along Safaricom’s M-Pesa that has become an instant hit in Kenya.

In a latest report, one of the country’s leading brokerage firms, IHSecurities, said EcoCash would leverage on the limited access to financial services.

“Access to financial services is even more limited in Zimbabwe than it was in Kenya at M-Pesa’s launch in 2007.

The penetration of bank branches at 0,032 per 1 000 people and 240 bank accounts per 1 000 adults at a national level speaks to a high level of financial exclusion,” IHSecurities said.

“However, an estimated 0,0055 bank branches per 100 000 people in the country’s rural areas speaks even more clearly to the extreme level of financial exclusion in the country’s rural areas.”

The brokerage firm said Econet had invested in the development of an agency network that largely mirrors that of Safaricom’s M-Pesa. It said that Econet had also invested in training that agency network.

IHSecurities said the company had demonstrated significant commitment to the product by the acquisition of 100% in TN Bank, as a hub for the creation of relevant products for the EcoCash platform.

The most recent development on the platform, IHSecurities said, was  the EcoCash debit card which has seen the company roll out 10 000 Point Of Sale (POS) machines across the country.

The card allows for the communication of the POS machined with mobile phones, allowing customers with EcoCash wallets to transact with their cellphones as they would with a debit card.

“After dominating telecommunications, Econet is well-positioned to become a key player in the financial services,” IHSecurities said.

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