VENTURES AFRICA – Econet Wireless is setting up a payment system for shares on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange using its EcoCash service.
The system is designed to make it possible for small investors to buy and sell shares using EcoCash.
Confirming the development, Econet Wireless Services CEO Mr Darlington Mandivenga said: “I can confirm that we are working on a project to enable people to buy and sell shares using EcoCash. It is mostly directed at small investors who buy shares for less than $5000 at a time, to as little as $50.”
He said the system will be an electronic trading platform which will make share trading much more transparent.
The current system tends to favour large institutional investors as well as foreign investors. Stock brokers find it difficult and expensive to deal with the needs of small investors looking for small volumes of shares, such as those worth $100.
The move by Econet could go a long way towards getting ordinary Zimbabweans interested in owning shares in companies listed on the stock exchange.
Econet Wireless has been pushing the use of EcoCash in many areas of economic activity, including public transport, retail trading, school fees payments and utility bills. Many of its subscribers now buy their airtime using EcoCash instead of buying from vendors.
Mr Mandivenga did not say when the platform would be ready, but confirmed that discussions with brokers and the securities authorities would start once the system is up and running.
He said Econet would not set up a brokerage firm to deal with its new service. “We are just providing a payment solution, which we expect the brokers and public to use. They will all make money from it,” he said.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is a subsidiary of the Econet Wireless Group, headquartered in South Africa. It is Zimbabwe’s largest provider of telecommunications services, providing solutions in mobile and fixed wireless telephony, internet access, mobile money transfer and payment solutions. Econet launched its network on the 10th of July 1998 and listed on 17th September 1998. It is one of the largest companies on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in terms of market capitalisation. Econet holds over 70% share of the Zimbabwe mobile market. Econet had 8-million customers as at January 2013.