Econet has just announced that shortly it will be possible for “small” investors to use its EcoCash mobile money service to buy stocks on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. The service, according to the announcement is targeted at investors buying stock of less than $5,000.
The when is not clear yet. Darlington Mandivenga, the Econet Wireless Services CEO, says in the announcement that discussions with brokers and the securities authorities would start once the system is up and running.
The development is the latest in a string of payment services disruptions with new convenience that Econet is getting into. While the EcoCash service itself has been heavily criticized for extremely high transacting costs, the convenience of the service in certain situations is unparalleled. Payments subscribers can now many using EcoCash include school fees, hospital fees, insurance, supermarkets goods, fast food products and transport among numerous others.
Here’s the full press release:
ECONET TO SET UP SHARE PAYMENT SYSTEM USING ECOCASH
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 went on to say the system will be an electronic trading platform which will also make share trading much more transparent.
The move by Econet could go a long way towards getting ordinary Zimbabweans interested in owning shares in companies listed on the stock exchange.
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 system Econet has in mind will allow brokers to address this market without increasing their costs.
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.
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