In June 2015, we wrote about a remittance partnership that had been formed between Chitoro, a Bureau de Change and money transfer agency started by Zimbabweans but based in the United Kingdom, and EcoCash, the mobile money company that’s part of local mobile operator Econet Wireless.
Chitoro is now part of the Econet Wireless Group, having been acquired by the global company’s subsidiary, Cassava Connect, in late 2015. The arrangement with EcoCash Diaspora was however penned through a separate negotiation.
Today, the two companies officially launched this partnership in the presence of various affiliates and stakeholders. The guest of honour at the launch was Dr Kuphukile Mlambo, the deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The arrangement between EcoCash Diaspora and Chitoro allows people in the United Kingdom as well as 10 other countries in Europe to send money directly to a recipient’s EcoCash wallet in either Zimbabwe or South Africa. Recipients can then choose to either use the funds at any EcoCash point of sale service facility or to cash out the money at any EcoCash agent.
Chitoro also provides an option for recipients to receive their money as cash which can be collected at either Steward Bank or CABS, or through a deposit into an account from both these banks. Transfer fees which are carried by the sender start at £1.99 with a progressive increase based on the amount sent.
It’s the same sort of straight-to-wallet transfer model that Ecocash has been facilitating with several other remittance outfits that include WorldRemit, Afrocoin, Western Union, Mukuru and MoneyGram.
Benefits include the convenience in retrieval that is passed on to recipients and an increased service network for Chitoro which gets to tap into the 18,000 merchants and 25,000 agents network. EcoCash once again draws in a portion of remittance funds, increasing the mobile money service’s role as the first port of remittances receipts.
Here are some of the pictures from the event.