Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates


Local developer builds an EcoCash agent locator app

Despite EcoCash being quite expensive to use (especially for the larger amounts) there’s always that time when it’s really the only option. Time of day, your location and the situation’s urgency all conspire to get you to EcoCash someone. And during such times, it always helps to know the nearest agent to rush to. A local programmer, Sam Takunda, has solved the problem. Well, the Android users among us at least.

Takunda has made available an App he had made for himself to find the location of the closest EcoCash agent using his mobile phone. “I always look for agents in a state of real emergency so I thought what the heck, I’m a developer I should do this myself,” he told us after we asked him how he came up with the idea.

The app, which is only available for Android phones, uses the phones GPS to suggest the closest agent. Takunda says the agent location listing is sourced from the Econet website. Takunda is also crowdsourcing more agent location data through the app; Users of the app have the option to add agents that are not already in the apps database.

The app can be downloaded here. It’s in beta so don’t expect everything to be smooth or to work just the way you want.

We last wrote about Takunda in November last year when he came up with an EcoCash internet payments proof of concept.

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25 thoughts on “Local developer builds an EcoCash agent locator app

  1. Well done Sam! Econet you really should have thought of something likes this earlier. Hopefully Sam gets approached by them to do it more commercially.

    Is it available in on Google Play?

      1. Should be hard being a ZTV presenter when you know you talking to two people atleast, yourself and the dude on the other side of the camera. On that note Julius the Great Malema thinks!! Im a great guy who talks about him onthe internet atleast, poor guy that. Before I get back to work I have something for you buddy hahaha

  2. Well done Sam…don’t stop here keep on focused….you will do great things….Sell it to Econet or charge them a monthly license fee. based on the number of users..

    1. Thanks. Well, considering how small the code base is and how much of a terrible Android developer i am i’m sure their techies can whip up a 100x better app during tea break.

      1. You really think they have techies? You mean ma tecky as is ma teky as in ma tennis as in ma tommie as in …. could have never made it an simpler. Dont under talk you self you bloody genius. Indians dont take tea breaks lol and their Techies make tea during tea breaks hence you a genius made this when they could have stopped making tea during tea breaks, enough of tea and breaks on a friday :-p (Just me and my regular shit talk)

        If they could do anything better they should have atleast ordered the Agents table and grouped them by city and made them visually apealling.

  3. Keep at it Sam…I can see this going far or someone at Econet finally snatching you up and offering you a fat salary paid from our over priced data

    Just a question, do you think there’ll ever be (you’ll make) an app that simplifies the Eco Cash features so that one doesn’t have to do things via USSD? I don’t know if its just me but I have to turn off my 3G everytime I want to make a successful transaction as leaving it on often leads to some choppy service. And also generaly the workflow of USSD of having to press “1 and enter” like 5 times just to juice up my own mobile is a bit counter productive I think.

  4. Good thinking and innovation. Apps, whatever the form are revolutionalising the world we live and its all intellectual property. I suggest you patent the product too

  5. There is nothing i love more than someone who demonstrates he can code, and codes beautifully. Keep it up.

  6. I was waiting for updated GPS position, expecting to see a map with pins to show which locations were nearby It was a bit underwhelming but might I suggest adding GMaps view to your app. Better still get a community to work on it with you. I know what you are thinking right now, you’re thinking, “so that you can steal my project, what not what not”.
    But trust me when I tell you this, execution is way more important than an idea, upload it to Git with a licence (GNU Public licence perhaps) and you’ll be able to protect your intellectual property as well has get a community that can help out. Zimbabwe has many good developers, all it needs is initiative. Food for thought

    1. In the not-to-be-released-anytime-soon version i have you either use Google Maps to mark your position on a map (useful to find Agents in an area you’re not in) or GPS. It’s also supposed to give you directions on a map but as this tweet weeks ago seconds, the politics right now behind Google Maps wasn’t worth the hustle

      But thanks a lot, reinforced some points. Will look into it again though when i find some free time

        1. Neat fiddle! Modded it a bit to be the whole application by connecting it to the backend i did for EcoCash Agent Finder. That means you can make a Win Mobile version of this right? We’ll chat over this when my monster of a backlog is dead. Actually, i had initially integrated a Static Maps API somewhere before finding the MAPS Android API to be more relevant. I’ll uncomment the Static maps link sometime.

          1. Have worked with the maps API for soemtime now. Almost at all Hackerthons this side you end up using the Mapping API.

   has an implimentation that I had implimented for a Zesa maping crowd source tool in collaboration with Kubatana, you could fork the project and use it for data entry. For location search you could use the GeoBytes api, documented my love for it on blog post I worked on recently .

            If you go on Toilerate and start typing the implimentation of the map there uses the places api.

            A win mobile app should be a breeze. VS just makes it sweet and easy. I can get intouch with Amanda from Kubatana and send you the KML for harare surburbs that they helped work on. If people are willing to contribute there is a KML drawing tool I worked on if you need to extend or use.

            1. Ah a fellow MAPS API addict! There’s a tool we developed for using the MAPS API for the non-techies who are adding Agents to the db. Awesome, will chat later & i’ll give you access to the source Luke and you make of it what you will.

              1. I hate Google but of all companies they have the best Documentation and great API’s. A life without caffeine is like decaf, no problem there. Awesome life without the Maps API is great – said no one. And that my friend confirms Its friday and I aint got nothing to do.

  7. Keep it up Sam. I like this article and should be encouraged. We should always embrace innovation. I have been thinking about price for EcoCash and this is what came to my mind. ” yes EcoCash is expensive but in comparison to what?” if I compare it with western union then EcoCash to me is affordable yet it offers a much more convenience. I cannot compare it with banks since it is not a banking service and I always use it when dealing with unbanked.
    Well done econet for giving us this product that has changed our lives. Days are far gone when we used buses to send money to our roots. In a second now my workers in the rural areas have their salaries sorted. As a customer I would like to get lower prices though I am also ready to pay price for the convenience. Without speaking for others I see a lot of value in EcoCash that sometime cost is not a factor to me.

  8. hey Sam, I have a question. How are you getting the agent locations in the app. Does econet have an API for that? Or did you just reap it from their website?

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