ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe’s mobile financial service platform — Ecocash has transacted over $16 billion in the last four years.
According to the group’s latest annual report, the mobile money platform’s subscriber base has been growing reaching 5,8 million subscribers supported by over 21 000 agents countrywide.
As at February 29, 2016, EcoCash transacted over $6,6 billion both within Zimbabwe and from the diaspora. There has been an increase in use of mobile money services in the past four months on the back of cash shortages in local banks.
Econet chief executive Mr Douglas Mboweni said the mobile money service laid the foundation for future growth in overlay services.
“In a shrinking economy, we maintained our market value share at 70 percent of the total market value while aggressively growing broadband and mobile financial services. These new innovations have lower margins compared to voice margins but contribute to overall profitability in a meaningful way as they are developed, largely using existing cost base,” he said in the group’s latest annual report.
The last quarter of the financial year 2016 became increasingly difficult
for foreign payments as the country
had low resources in its nostro accounts. Mr Mboweni, however, said the group will continue to monitor the situation and come up with innovations to enhance its business.
“We believe that EcoCash is the solution to the current liquidity challenges and can assist the country in mitigating the cash shortages. Our focus will also be on growing mobile financial services through promoting EcoCash as a premier mobile merchant payment platform” said Mr Mboweni.
In the year to February 29, 2016, Econet recorded after tax profit of $40 million which was driven by growth in EcoCash and data revenues as well as aggressive cost containment measures implemented in the year.
EcoCash was launched in September, 2011. The EcoCash platform now offers debit card, payroll, bill payments services, airtime purchases and make payments at over 47 million MasterCard points worldwide. The telecoms industry has been experiencing declines in voice revenues as subscribers shift to social media services such as Whatsapp and Skype.
Econet’s broadband subscriber base now stands at 6,5 million subscribers as customers shift to more affordable services. This has prompted Econet to introduce other products to enhance revenue streams, for instance the group introduced EcoSurec and EcoFarmer that have been registering growth. EcoSure now has over one million subscribers while EcoFarmer now has 900 000 clients.
“We see great potential in these two services,” said Mr Mboweni.