'Econet could become Zimbabwe's largest bank'
- Published on 09 July 2012
Zimbabwean telecommunications company Econet could become the biggest bank in the country as a result of the take up of mobile money, says deputy prime minister, Arthur Mutambara.
Mutambara said Thursday that not everyone in the southern African nation has a bank account, but more than seven million people, half of Zimbabwe's 14 million people, have access to mobile phones.
Econet has a mobile money product called ‘EcoCash’, which was launched September last year. And the potential for it to grow in the country's market exists, as an ever increasing number of people purchase mobile phones.
In Zimbabwe, about 9 million sim cards are active as at May this year, while an estimated 6,5 million subscribers belonging to Econet alone, according to the country's communications regulatory body.
“With EcoCash it means that millions of Zimbabweans without access to traditional banking service will now have the ability to send and receive money without first having to travel to the nearest bank or having a bank account,” Mutambara said.
Mobile money transfer services have significantly stimulated economic activity in other African markets, especially in East Africa.
According to estimates by global telecoms researcher Pyramid Research, the value of money transfers over mobile networks in Africa will reach $200 billion by 2015, almost 8% of Africa’s nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP).