Just a week after announcing the hire of former FNB executive to head its newly acquired bank, Econet disclosed today (somewhat inadvertently) the hire of another banker, Cuthbert Tembedza, to fill a newly created position of EcoCash CEO. The full title, according to Tembedza’s LinkedIn profile is actually “CEO – EcoCash TPS & PayBay Zimbabwe”. So yes, TPS has apparently finally moved from Liquid Telecom to where it belongs – with EcoCash. And there’s this PayBay Zimbabwe that we hadn’t heard about until this title.
Back to the new hire. Tembedza is coming from heading the Africa operations of BankservAfrica, Africa largest payments company. Before heading BankServAfrica Tembedza was an SME Banking specialist with the World Bank.
We had the opportunity to speak with him briefly after today’s EcoCash – Stanbic integration press conference, so we asked him what he will work on in his new role. His response, in summary is that he’s come to regularise EcoCash so it plays nicely with everyone.
Here’s what he said:
EcoCash is almost getting to a level where it’s a national product. It is a national asset but it has to be shared by all the institutions that are available. And for it to run like that there are certain regulatory requirements that it must meet. There are certain international and local regulatory standards that it must achieve, and we cannot afford to continue to see at as just another part of Econet. So we really need to give focus, we need to give it the attention that it deserves.
My role really is to drive the business of EcoCash, ensuring that the partnerships such as the one that we are here for today and the relationships with the rest of the banks. And it’s not just banks; it’s any deserving institution that would like to participate.
If you look at the history of successful payments business, it has to play a neutral role. It has to be open to all; there’s no profit competing on infrastructure. We believe that the banks and the rest of the customers that come onto EcoCash should compete on the customer front. We should facilitate them to do that business. And I’m really here to make sure that happens.
I have seen some debates where there’s a feeling that EcoCash is not available to some and available to some. The position that we have taken, and this is the strategy that I’m here to drive, is that EcoCash is here and it’s available to everybody. So, every institution that is deserving and that meets the requirements and standards that we are setting for this platform, and that are expected by the regulator, should participate.