Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has launched the EcoCash Rand Wallet on its mobile money platform to give an alternative currency in the wake of cash shortages prevailing in the market.
This comes as 26 000 agents nationwide of the Econet-owned EcoCash have been struggling to disburse money to subscribers, who want to do cash out transactions.
Speaking at the official launch of the rand wallet platform yesterday in Harare, EcoCash general manager, Natalie Jabangwe said the company had mobilised an unspecified amount of South African rand to kick start the programme, where agents would have the South African currency to give to clients.
“At home, we have been marred by cash shortages, but let me tell you that this has been the best opportunity for EcoCash. We should be able to provide convenience and a choice to our customers. The EcoCash Rand Wallet allows customers to cash in and out, send money, offers merchant services, payee and bulk payer, and bill payments using the South African rand,” she said.
“The rand wallet that we unveiled comes in two phases. The first phase, for which we will be providing as of today [yesterday], will be cash in and out services, send money in rand, balance enquiry, go to a merchant point and make payments, and become a bulk payer.”
EcoCash will unveil the second phase in the next few days to enable customers to enjoy remittances from EcoCash South Africa to their account, airtime services, banking services and online payments among others.
However, EcoCash clients cannot transact from a United States wallet to a South African rand wallet.
The launch of the new product comes as there is a shortage of US dollars.
Econet Wireless CEO, Douglas Mboweni said the introduction of a multi-currency wallet was another step towards meeting the country’s vision of becoming a cashless society and of easing liquidity in a multi-currency regime.
In the central business district, cash transactions from EcoCash agents of $10 were proving difficult with some reporting daily totals of $100.
Adopting the rand comes when four months ago, in August, exports to South Africa totalled $153,98 million (R2,09 billion). Exports account for 60% of liquidity in the country.
South Africa is the country’s largest trading partner accounting for 60% of total trade.