Mobile money subscriptions rose to 4, 7 million in 2017 from 3, 3 million in 2016 on the back of the cash crisis forcing Zimbabweans to find alternative payment methods.
Representing a 42, 5 percent increase in mobile money subscriptions, the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) in its latest annual sector performance report said the year 2017 saw many Zimbabweans join mobile money platforms.
“The total number of active mobile money subscriptions increased by 42.5% to reach 4,706,778 in 2017 from 3,303,188 recorded in 2016. Big leaps in active mobile money subscriptions were experienced in 2017. Mobile money provided an effective alternative to cash for making payments in the midst of the liquidity crisis,” said POTRAZ.
However, despite an increase in transactions, there was an overall decline in Cash-In transactions, Cash-Out transactions and Cross Network transfers due to the cash crisis and the linking of banks to Ecocash.
Despite the cash crisis that threatened business for agents, there was an increase in active mobile money agents in Zimbabwe. The fact that some of them charged a premium for cash-outs, however illegal it was, managed to sustain most of them and in a way, aided to the cash crisis.
“The total number of active agent outlets increased by 13.6% to reach 27,284 in 2017 from
24,012 recorded in 2016. The number of active agent outlets in the urban areas as well as the
rural areas increased.”
Due to the popularity of mobile money, the ministry of ICT issued an ultimatum to mobile money services providers to make their services interoperable. At the moment, cross network transfers are only available by origination only.