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60,000 jobs: Econet spits out numbers to emphasize its value to the Zim economy

   

EcoCash agents are part of the 60,000 jobs created

The issue of jobs has been a very sore subject recently, and despite a strong performance in the past when other sectors suffered, the local telecoms industry hasn’t been spared the controversies around employment contract terminations.

Econet Wireless, the country’s largest operator also let go of some of its employees this year. A termination letter circulated on social media and there were reports that the operator had let go of hundreds of employees, something that Econet went on to deny clarify.

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Now, in its latest effort to highlight its position as a job creator, Econet has published a full page press statement outlining its support of more than 60,000 jobs in the Zimbabwean economy.

The statement, quoting the Econet CEO, Douglas Mboweni, demonstrates this by outlining jobs created through the ventures that Econet has entered into over the past year like ConnectedCar and EcoSure.

The following points were raised in the statement:

  • EcoSure has created more than 1,000 jobs indirectly and its coverage of over 1 million unique users makes it the largest insurance business in the country. This user total exceeds all Zimbabwean insurance companies combined.
  • EcoSure is expected to grow to be as big as EcoCash, which is making close to $100 million a year
  • ConnectedCar is now the largest vehicle tracking company in the country and has created more than 250 jobs and is expected to create another 250 jobs this year
  • EcoFarmer now has 650,000 customers and has created over 200 jobs
  • the Steward Bank Agent banking model now has 250 distribution agents which employ at least 2 agents each
  • Liquid Telecom Zimbabwe, which is 51% owned by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (though run by Liquid Telecom) supports more than 500 jobs  and Econet has invested over $100 million in the company.(though run by Liquid Telecom) supports more than 500 jobs and Econet has invested over $100 million in the company.
  • Econet has paid out $1.136 billion in taxes to date, against $109 million paid to its shareholders
  • There’s also the mention of the $1,2 billion that Econet has invested in Zimbabwe over the past 6 years.

Is this just another case of plain corporate vanity from Econet? It’s easy to assume that, but there seems to be more behind this.

It’s no coincidence that this latest announcement comes after another statement of clarification a week ago, where the operator defended its position on employment termination and strongly denied any links of that action to cost cutting. Econet didn’t want people to be under the impression that it just sheds jobs for no reason.

The efforts didn’t end there. Also making it to the media is the press release that states how Econet is training 1,000 computer specialists at its Muzinda Hub.

The operator has always held on to its job creator and biggest investor tag, and rightfully so. Without wading deeply into the numbers on downstream investments and the billions poured into Zimbabwe, it’s easy to appreciate the huge contribution the operator has made. So, this can’t be just about self-promotion or setting the facts straight.

I could be wrong here, but this latest press and media blitz seems to suggest something more than that. Could be it be part of Econet’s efforts to lobby for the loosening of regulation which has been handicapping the industry? Is the operator trying to clearly indicate its contribution to the fiscus?

Whatever the reason is, this is too much noise to just talk about jobs, even if the topic is trending in Zimbabwe right now.


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