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EcoCash expected to drive share value

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ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe Ltd’s mobile money transfer service EcoCash is expected to drive share value and company growth going forward, a top executive said.

Econet’s deputy finance director Roy Chimanikire this week told shareholders at the company’s 15th annual general meeting EcoCash and other strategic innovations such as Econet Solar had demonstrated the group’s ability to generate income, hence driving the share value up.

“As the market evolves, these are going to be the mainstay that supports our growth going forward,” he said, adding the platform had to date handled transactions in excess of US$1,2 billion.

“So we have made a strategic investment to grow that shareholder value. We have also invested in 4 000km of fibre in this market, which is the business of the future. Effectively what we are doing is to demonstrate we have the pillars to generate more value,” Chimanikire said.

The company was also continuously engaging its shareholders to understand specific needs and expectations in terms of management performance as well as general shareholder requirements as a means of maximising value.

Econet CEO Douglas Mboweni said EcoCash served as one of the effective tools that the business was using to retain its customers on the network in the face of growing competition.

“We are all aware that the mobile telecoms sector has a lot of movement of subscribers and the business has taken a decision where a sim card will not be necessarily something that causes customers to stay on the network but it is the services around the sim card,” Mboweni noted.

“The major incentive or motivation around Econet is to say subscribers can use their sim card for mobile money transfer.”

Mboweni said EcoCash was dominant in Zimbabwe as the biggest telecoms-driven mobile money transfer service with no real competition.

“The numbers that we are seeing around EcoCash are very exciting and give us the confidence that we have developed an interesting product in the market,” added Mboweni.

He said Ecocash was well-positioned to overtake Kenya’s Mpesa and become the leading mobile money transfer service in the world.

Mboweni said EcoCash was regulated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

“You remember that EcoCash could not be launched without the supporting bank and that is the reason we basically took a strong position to invest in a bank, and banks are under the RBZ’s control, so EcoCash is regulated by RBZ. What Potraz (Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe) do basically is look at the tariffs as they relate to voice and data.”

Mboweni dismissed allegations by banks that EcoCash was breaching free competition guidelines by refusing to give all institutions a gateway.

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