Speaking at the Mobile Money and Digital Payments conference today, EcoCash Head, Natalie Jabangwe-Morris, alluded to the fact that the company is not yet ready to share its mobile money distribution infrastructure.
At some point in the future, Jabangwe said, it will be inevitable, but in the meantime, the Econet Group needed to make a return on its $50 million-plus investment in the distribution network.
Here’s an excerpt from the presentation she made:
Let me make a very clear point to all the attendees of this conference and very humbly so to the Honorable Minister. It takes a lot to be able to grow a mobile money payments business.
When you talk about over 6 million customers registered, upto 70% of Zimbabwe’s adult population. 47% of Zimbabwe’s GDP moved on EcoCash. It is a result of millions and millions of investment in the distribution network. Ofcourse there will come a time when it will be inevitable for that distribution network to be shared but I think we must appreciate that a lot has gone into building that distribution network. Over 50 million dollars has gone into building the distribution network.
Jabangwe also said that because of their investment and moving first, they needed to enjoy their first mover advantage.
In apparent reference to NetOne and Telecel, Jabangwe pointed out that other players were letting the industry down as they were not moving at the same speed in infrastructure investment and innovation.
“We’d like other players to have the same passion in setting up this difficult to build infrastructure so that it’s not left to a single player to carry the weight of developing the industry in the country.”