Zimbabwe’s financial technology industry is still in its nascent stages, but its products and services are making waves in the country.
This trend is also evident at the ongoing Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo where several companies are showing their products.
EcoCash Holdings, a technology group that leverages digital and financial technologies to build shared economies, drive financial inclusion and promote economic empowerment, spent the better part of the last three days answering questions from visitors at the stand.
The group, which owns Zimbabwe’s largest mobile money platform, EcoCash, is showcasing how the innovative product has changed people’s lives in the past decade.
EcoCash, now available in both domestic and United State dollar currencies, offers Econet customers a platform to send and receive cash, and users can also pay for products and services from participating merchants using the mobile application.
At the stand is also EcoSure, which offers affordable life assurance products that cost from as little as US$0.50 with benefits of up to US$5 000 and can be easily accessed through a mobile phone. The business also offers hospital cashback, personal accident cover and education cover to all people under the age of 70.
The listed group also has Moovah, a short-term insurance product, at its stand. Moovah is one of Zimbabwe’s fastest growing mobile phone-based insurance brands with products, which allow you to cover senior citizens, vehicles, property, household contents and other assets.
On the other hand, state-owned mobile network operator NetOne is showcasing its mobile money platform, OneMoney.
The latest development comes at a time when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is set to introduce a gold-backed digital currency to be used as legal tender for transacting in the country as part of interventions to stabilise the local currency.
Market analysts believe that the introduction of digital gold tokens, a form of electronic money backed by gold held at the RBZ, will represent the first steps by the central bank towards using the country’s gold reserves to anchor the Zimbabwe dollar.
At the same time, monetary authorities envisage the digital gold tokens will allow those holding small amounts of Zimbabwe dollars to exchange their money for tokens in order to store value and hedge against exchange rate volatility.
Financial and investment expert Ngoni Dzirutwe said Zimbabwe’s fintech landscape is booming, driven by increasing digital penetration and positive investor engagement across this high-growth nation of nearly 16 million citizens.
“This is a market with huge fintech potential, with large underserved and underbanked populations, low access to finance in Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and an open and encouraging government dialogue about leveraging fintech capabilities to bridge the financing gap,” he said.
Dzirutwe, who is the Global Renaissance Investment (GRI) chief executive officer, noted that the number of fintech players in Zimbabwe has been increasing exponentially in the past decade. “While the first wave of growth was dominated by the payment segment, the vibrant modern ecosystem is a diverse landscape driven by lending, payments, and wealth. Fintech-focused software as a service and insurance activities now represent a new, emerging driving force, with a number of fresh entrants operating in these segments, showing Zimbabwe’s fintech ecosystem is maturing beyond payments to include increasingly sophisticated products and services,” he added