Zimbabwean operator Econet plans to enable remittances between locals and residents in South Africa via its EcoCash mobile money transfer platform EcoCash, the New Zimbabwe reported. The group has obtained approval from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and the South African central bank, and says it has already done a successful trial run and is putting in the final touches. Econet Services’ chief executive Darlington Mandivenga projected that EcoCash remittances will be the biggest source of foreign currency in the economy by the end of the year.
Mandivenga said more new products riding on the back of data services and EcoCash were in the pipeline. Using Econet’s Call Home SIM cards, Zimbabweans living in South Africa will be able to load money onto their mobile phones and send it across the border instantly to an Econet number. The recipient will then cash out the money at any EcoCash agent.
Under the service, Econet also targets remittances from Botswana and Zambia before year end while it plans to expand to other countries such as the UK and US, where there are significant populations of Zimbabweans. Statistics show that currently, Zimbabwe accounts for the bulk of the cross-border remittances market in Africa and more than ZAR 6.7 billion, or 60 percent of total Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) remittances, is estimated to be sent to Zimbabwe from South Africa each year.