Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Mobile money agents resist EcoCash directive

By Tawanda Karombo | IT Web Africa |

The Mobile Money Transfer Agents Association of Zimbabwe (MMTAAZ) is resisting a recent directive by Econet Wireless requesting its EcoCash agents to register at least five new subscribers per day, saying the directive should be backed by financial incentives.

Mobile money agents resist EcoCash directive
Mobile money agents resist EcoCash directive

The MMTAAZ is a new representative grouping for mobile money transfer agents. It recently lobbied for its members not to be tied by exclusive contracts barring them from offering rival operators’ mobile money services.

The mobile money transfer service sector has become lucrative in Zimbabwe, especially on the back of bank charges that are considered high. Mobile money transfers also offer convenience and a faster way of transferring money and paying bills.

Although mobile money services have blossomed in the Zimbabwean economy, they have also occasioned problems for both operators and the agents handling transactions.

“Please be advised that all agents are required to register at least 5 customers on Ecocash daily as per the agency contract,” reads a text message the MMTAAZ says was sent to its members by Econet.

The MMTAAZ said in a statement emailed to ITWeb Africa on Sunday that “the requirement is ill advised” as the “mobile money business has become highly saturated for the said provider such that it is very difficult to create new customers”.

The mobile money agents association accused mobile money operators in the country of taking its members for granted as “there is no real incentive for the agents” to register more EcoCash customers.

“We believe such an issue should have considerably been encouraged and stimulated by a financial benefit, such that those who would want to pursue the financial benefit for new customer registrations will do so.”

Telecel Zimbabwe, which launched the Telecash platform early this year, now has 2,600 mobile money agents. It intends to register 60% of its 2.5 million network subscribers onto the Telecash mobile money platform by July this year.

Mobile money agents who spoke to ITWeb Africa in confidence said on Monday that Econet was hoping to capitalise on the 6,000 agents it has signed up to offer EcoCash services.

“Imagine if each and everyone of the 6,000 EcoCash agents are to register five new customers each day. They will benefit while we as agents do not get anything from the work to sign up more customers,” said one agent.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has already directed mobile money companies to desist from using exclusive contracts for mobile money agents.

The MMTAAZ said “section 3.4 on the agent contract EcoCash is referring to in the sms broadcast is based on the exclusive basis contract they made agents sign”, which the central bank has discouraged.