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‘Mobile money users outnumber banked population in Zimbabwe’

By , Journalist
Zimbabwe , 25 Aug 2014

‘Mobile money users outnumber banked population in Zimbabwe’

Zimbabwe has joined a club of countries where more people use mobile money than have bank accounts.

This is according to an official from online money transfer company WorldRemit.

According to a study conducted by FBC Securities in October last year, 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.

Econet says it has four million EcoCash users while Telecel Zimbabwe has previously this year said its Telecash user numbers had reached 600 000.

Growth in Zimbabwe’s mobile money market has meant that the likes of WorldRemit have inked deals with Econet to enable expat Zimbabweans to send money to their friends and relatives who have EcoCash mobile wallets.

"Zimbabwe is one of nine countries in the world where more people use mobile money than have bank accounts,” said Ismail Ahmed, the founder and chief executive officer at WorldRemit, at a media briefing.

“The partnership between WorldRemit and EcoCash is all the more important as it enables many unbanked people to have access to vital financial services," he added.

Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe are among countries in Africa that have more mobile money users than bank account holders, according to a Gallup study.

However, the likes of Strive Masiyiwa, founder of Econet Wireless, has gone further to say that Zimbabwe could become Africa’s first cashless society in light of the rise of mobile money.

And at the briefing with WorldRemit, the chief executive officer for Econet Services Darlington Mandivenga said the uptake of EcoCash in the country continues unabated.

“We are seeing increased volumes and values of transactions on a daily basis,” said Darlington Mandivenga, chief executive officer for Econet Services.

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