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Agent lines banned by RBZ as “they no longer serve any legitimate purpose”

Earlier today, the RBZ published the Monetary Policy Statement and there are a number of pretty shocking declarations. One of which is that agents lines are officially a thing of the past.

The same document also outlines that mobile money wallets will now be limited to one per individual.

RIP agents (2011-2020)

Agents have been a huge part of Zimbos life for the last decade. The RBZ suggest that they are out of our lives for good;

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Agent wallets are no longer serving any legitimate purpose and were now being used primarily for illegal foreign exchange transactions. Agents’ mobile money wallets are therefore abolished, with immediate effect.

Monetary Policy Statement 2020

The central bank claims agents with funds in suspended/frozen accounts will be allowed to move the money to their bank accounts. But even that comes with a big asterisk since the funds will be moved on one condition. The Financial Intelligence Unit will first “determine the legitimacy of the source of funds.”

How many people will be affected?

In 2019, there were 59 219 agents. It is widely believed around 50 000 of those were EcoCash agents so that will be the most widely affected service provider. To be fair when you consider that agents had multiple agent lines the actual number of agents might be lower than 50 000.

Impact

It will be interesting to see the impact of this ban. In rural areas, agents had become the only source of cash since there are no banks and the RBZs overnight bans mean accessing cash in these areas will become harder.

In both rural and urban areas, agents were charging a premium for cashing-out (withdrawals). This will probably get worse since the agents (or people still assuming this role) now use normal lines that have a daily limits of ZW$5000.

On the flip side, this could mean people transition to digital money as cash becomes harder to obtain.


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3 thoughts on “Agent lines banned by RBZ as “they no longer serve any legitimate purpose”

  1. As much as I hate this government and all its various appendages, they are right. But it’s only a matter of time till they get a taste for that Gono style money printing – they will never be able to stay disciplined for that long with govt’s addiction for overspending. Just wait till corona dies down. They will be back to their jet setting lifestyles, spending lavishly on imports while externalising all the forex and then they will resort to insane money creation to handle bills at home.

  2. So if there’s no agents to turn usd to eco cash how do people going to survive because right now the only way to buy groceries is using eco cash, there’s no econet shop where you go to turn your usd to eco cash, and because of covid even most cellphone companies don’t open to public,what methods is putted in place for people to be able to transact, because they burned multiple accounts and they burned agents that who are the only source of mobile money. Its just disaster after disaster

  3. Politics and business does not mix. It looks rosy now but God vindicates the righteous. Ecocash should open a public eCommerce API,
    Remember the prophecy 3 years ago by Apostle Bwanya, its scary ya’l its literally happening. https://youtu.be/RFKMli29azw God speaks! People must listen. its a big lesson for ecocash team, amazing how one should never depend on one strategy if they dont innovate, beyond sending and receiving money they are in trouble. I remember strive saying Ecocash’s expenses about 65 to 70% were payments to agents and partners, so this could save them lots of money lol. Despite also losing the agency network, it was bid to market the product in the start of Ecocash, now they have done all that.

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