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Wednesday, Oct 16th

Call for cooperation between Zimbabwe banks, telcos

Call for cooperation between Zimbabwe banks, telcos.

Zimbabwe’s central bank has called on telecommunications and banking firms to integrate and share infrastructure and systems.

The call comes as local banks accuse Econet Wireless, which has over 8 million subscribers on its network, of refusing to open up its systems for integration with the local banking system in the country.

Econet Wireless also runs Zimbabwe’s highly popular EcoCash mobile money service, which has over 3 million users.

Furthermore, Econet also owns Steward Bank in Zimbabwe.

“The Reserve Bank continues to encourage interoperability and sharing of infrastructure (systems, networks and applications) across institutions,” said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) acting governor, Dr Charity Dhliwayo, on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe officials have further recognised mobile money systems as being key in reaching the unbanked.

Zimbabweans also have more mobile money options after Telecel Zimbabwe launched its own mobile money service, Telecash, on Wednesday.

Telecel’s Telecash comes along fully integrated with all banks in Zimbabwe.

Dhliwayo emphasised that “shared infrastructure is an avenue that lowers cost and access gaps that hinder the efficient delivery of financial services”.

Dhilwayo has further hinted that the central bank is developing an electronic payment system regulation.

She said “financial innovation coupled with increased penetration rates” in the mobile telecommunications sector has resulted in the “phenomenal growth” in the use of electronic means of payment.

“Within this context the Reserve Bank through its oversight and regulatory mandate, is currently seized with coming up with an electronic-payment system regulation. The regulations will provide for the effective management and operation of all electronic means of payments, notably, cards, mobile, e-banking and internet among others,” said Dhilwayo.

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