Econet merges with UK-based Bureau de Change

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Telecoms operator Econet Zimbabwe has integrated with UK-based Bureau de Change, Chitoro, to offer receipt of transfers into Zimbabwe via the EcoCash platform.

Chitoro is an international money transfer business that allows customers to send money from a bank account, VISA or MasterCard and cash through its system.

The partnership will allow people in the United Kingdom among other countries across Europe to send money directly to a recipient’s EcoCash wallet in either Zimbabwe or South Africa.

Chitoro is part of the Econet Wireless Group following its acquisition by Mauritian registered subsidiary, Cassava Connect. It is licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK to provide financial services across the UK and Europe as a prudent and world class remittance business.

Under the system, money would be transferred to the recipient within seconds and the charges would depend on the amount of money to be sent, with no additional charges on the recipient to receive the money into their EcoCash wallet.

The normal EcoCash charges would, however, apply on EcoCash transactions like cash out, paying merchants and the ability to pay bills.

Speaking at the launch yesterday, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Deputy Governor Dr Kuphukile Mlambo said the partnership is expected to increase remittances into the economy.

“We are glad, as the central bank, to see these two organisations coming together to provide a service that will provide relief to our customers and benefit our economy greatly. One of the key assets that we have in this country is a large Diaspora,” said Dr Mlambo.

“As a dollarised economy we have very few channels of liquidity, it’s either through your exports, through lines of credit and through Diaspora. Over time, Diaspora has become important because we cannot print money and we need to get it from somewhere.”

Dr Mlambo said the collaboration supports the national objective of promoting systems that increase remittances to the economy through formal channels.

EcoCash general manager Mrs Natalie Jabangwe said that the relationship between EcoCash and Chitoro was completely commercial like any other agreements that were made with other international money transfer agents in the past.

“It is the same sort of straight to wallet transfer model that EcoCash has been facilitating with several other remittance outfits that include World Remit, Western Union, Mukuru and MoneyGram.

“Even though Chitoro is part of the Econet group, the relationship is purely commercial. As EcoCash we want to be the glue that connects the Diaspora and home,” said Mrs Jabangwe.

She said by the end of August 2015, according to the financial results, 5 million people were signed up to the EcoCash platform.

Chitoro director Mr Haxton Rose said the partnership with Econet Wireless opens new and exciting opportunities.