ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe (EWZ)’s new stand-alone unit Cassava, born out the unbundling financial technology (fintech) businesses to be listed separately on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, is set to become one of the biggest companies in Zimbabwe.
Cassava group chief executive Darlington Mandivenga said the company may not yet be a household name in Zimbabwe, but will over the next few weeks become one of the largest companies in the country.
The company is be best known through its numerous brands that for years have been part of Econet’s Wireless products and services, but is now set to emerge as a stand-alone fintech company, Mr Mandivenga said.
Cassava, he said, will be made up of units Econet intends to spin off as part of its unbundling of well-known brands such as EcoCash, EcoSure, EcoFarmer, Ruzivo, Steward Bank, TPS and edu-tech training services such as the Muzinda Hub.
The brands, or SBUs, currently account for over 40 percent of EWZ’s current turnover.
While Cassava is comprised by valuable products and convenient services, perhaps less well known are its forays into e-commerce, where it operates the Ownai brand — a platform or virtual marketplace for buying and selling goods and services on the internet.
Cassava is also the home of “technites”, which provides jobs to thousands of young people who carry out technical work such as installations of set top boxes (STBs) as well as laying fibre optic cabling, among many other jobs.
Mr Mandivenga said plans were underway for Cassava to aggregate all the artisans in the country so that one can reach them using a mobile App. He also disclosed that Cassava footprint extended beyond Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe is just one of (many) markets for Cassava. The business here is big, but we are also present in 20 other countries. The Zimbabwe business is only confined here in Zimbabwe. It is wholly owned by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, but we support it from outside,” he said.
“We are not just about mobile money. We do a lot of smart things using mobile technology and digital platforms, and we are already a well-established business that has grown inside Econet for 20 years,” Mr Mandivenga said.