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Zimbabwe's central bank wants faster tech adoption

Zimbabwe’s central bank wants faster tech adoption.

Zimbabwe's reserve bank wants government and financial institutions in the country to invest more in technology that enables cross-sharing of infrastructure such as point of sale systems and high-speed broadband internet.

John Mangudya, governor of Zimbabwe's central bank, said in his mid-term monetary policy statement that adoption of technology is crucial in driving the country's struggling economy towards stability.

"A robust Information Communication Technology (ICT) system is one of the major driving forces for economic recovery and sustainable growth," said Mangudya.

To achieve this, Mangudya said "banking institutions are urged to invest in technology that will allow expansive provision of point of sale systems that can be shared among banking institutions".

Mangudya argued this could do away with a liquidity crunch hobbling Zimbabwe's economy.

The liquidity challenges that Zimbabwe is experiencing have resulted in the country sinking into deflation in the past five months, and there are now growing calls for increased usage of plastic money.

"In an endeavour to promote a cashless society, utility service providers should adopt measures to promote use of plastic cards and mobile payments in the payment of utility services," said Mangudya.

He also said there was "need for a deliberate government policy for investment in telecommunications systems such as fibre optic which are critical in enhancing connectivity" and other measures aimed at ensuring the "interoperability of payment platforms".

Voices have emerged in Zimbabwe calling for a more cashless society in the country.

In light of the advent of mobile money, the likes of Strive Masiyiwa, founder of Econet Wireless, has said Zimbabwe could become Africa's first truly cashless society.

On Monday, ITWeb Africa reported that Zimbabwe is said to have more mobile money users than bank account holders.

Studies conducted by FBC Securities in October last year said that only 14% of Zimbabwe's 13 million population have bank accounts (approximately 1.8 million Zimbabweans).

But active mobile money accounts held with just two of Zimbabwe's biggest mobile network operators number around five million, according to figures from Econet and Telecel.

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