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Econet Life micro pension fund was sorely needed but may struggle to gain traction

old man on phone, pensioner biometric registration

I wish insurance and pension talk was as fun as MK11 tournaments are. It may not be fun but we still have to have the conversation. Over 60% of Zimbabwe’s population is informally employed and without any pension cover.

That means even when old age comes, most will have to keep working until they drop dead. I am in my 30s and already feel the energy dwindling, I can’t imagine what having to work at 70 would be like. That sounds terrible.

If that’s the case, why aren’t we all making plans to get pensions? We touched on one, the formal financial sector is not innovative. They won’t tweak their business practices to accommodate the majority that are not formally employed.

So, for most, even if they want to, there aren’t many businesses offering them pension products out there.

Then there is what the RBZ governor called ‘short term focus’ by Zimbabweans. He is right, we do focus on the short term.

It’s mostly because the economy has been in the gutters for a long time and we have been in survival mode the whole time. It is hard to think about 2050 you when current you is in danger of going hungry.

We can’t forget that Zimbabweans have been burnt before. They twice had their pensions and insurance plans reduced to nothing when the economy tanked. The economy is not doing too good today and you can forgive us for not considering pensions.

It doesn’t help that we see pensioners getting literal peanuts from NSSA after decades of forced pension contributions. Just last month, some pensioners were getting US$5 a month in payouts despite contributing thousands during their working years.

Econet Life’s Dura/Isiphala

Econet Life looks to solve for one of the challenges above – the lack of products tailored for the informally employed. They recently launched the Dura/Isiphala micro pension scheme which is targeted towards the informal sector.

Details are scarce but indications are that there will be no payslip and affidavit hurdles for ordinary Zimbabweans to join this pension fund. That’s a great start. Here is how it looks.

  • Dura/Isiphala is open to all Zimbos between 18 and 70
  • It is USD denominated
  • Monthly contributions from as little as US$10
  • Registration and contributions at Econet shops, Steward Bank, AFC Bank and EcoSure spots

The Dura pension scheme is flexible. Econet Life revealed that those who join will be able to use the investment as collateral to access short term loans, earn interest and access a portion of their investment after just 12 months.

I think it was a genius move to include that. We’re dealing with a population that thinks planning 2 weeks ahead is long term planning. So, it may be a stretch to ask them to contribute for 20 years straight before they see a cent of their investment. This hybrid fund allows people to access some of their investment after just 12 months.

The contributions situation is not ideal. However, Econet Life promises that EcoCash FCA wallet integration will be coming soon. People will be able to pay using EcoCash and not have to make contributions physically.

Solid product but may struggle

We know the Econet group makes noise about its products and services. They aren’t as loud about Dura as yet. They haven’t even made it easy for people to get more information about the product.

That’s not the main issue though. Econet Life Dura brings pensions to the masses but unfortunately it doesn’t fix the other problems we talked about above.

Dura is USD denominated but that means nothing in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean government has been clear on this, at some point in the not too distant future they would like to move away from the USD.

What happens when that happens? How do we translate the USD balances in funds like these? We can be certain there will be winners and losers and I doubt the everyday man will be the winner. I think this uncertainty is the biggest reason for the short term focus we’ve been blamed of having.

Those are my 2 cents. What do you think about Econet Life Dura/Isiphala? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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18 thoughts on “Econet Life micro pension fund was sorely needed but may struggle to gain traction

  1. I personally think this Dura thing is a great idea from Econet though they still have to make quite a noise about it
    I remember during the launch period of Ecosure, it really didn’t make some 2cents as you said kkk but if we look at it now, it now makes some sense being an Ecosure member
    The Pro on this Dura product being the ability to access part of the investments in just 12 months though you were not clear my man how much exactly?

    1. You rightly pointed out that some of the details are not clear. That’s the problem. They have not made it easy to find that information. We will update when we get it.
      We will only be able to properly evaluate this product when we dig into the nitty gritties in the Ts and Cs.

      1. Ecosure is a whole different thing. It’s all about what happens when you or loved one dies. A funeral is just a few days, if worst comes to the worst we wrap up the body in a blanket/sheets and tell people that we don’t believe in coffins.
        But retirement is very different it’s all about quality of life you and your loved ones will LIVE in the however many years that the heavens decide to give you on earth after you no longer want/able to work. All based on the concept of saving,with the idea being that all the money you put aside from today till you want /have to retire will help you live a somewhat comfortable life when you can no longer rely on a paycheck or are no longer able to work anymore due to old age.
        But all this is very much dependent on the currency of the land maintaining its value or at least losing it at very slow rate which allows you to make adjustments if any are needed.
        The value of the US dollar has lost more than 96% of its purchasing power since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Whilst on the other hand The Zimbabwean dollar is the worst performing currency in Africa and has lost more than two thirds of its value against the US dollar this year alone!
        So its fine and good that the new Econet product is USD based but remember we live in the land where any day a Statutory Instrument signature and announcement can change the economic landscape,recently we had a minister threatening(promising) that the Zim$ will soon be sole currency of the land.
        Going from previous years its quite possible that all your hard saved USD will be turned into local currency in the name sovereignty at an inflated rate which will promptly start losing it’s value.
        The method they will use is unknown and may be quite innovative, but the result is most probably the complete and utter destruction of all the financial plans you have made for your future.
        Expecting that things will turn out well is being really optimistic.

  2. . I am in my 30s and already feel the energy dwindling, I can’t imagine what having to work at 70 would be like. That sounds terrible. says:

    Someone allegedly was 80 last week & they claim that by 2030 they will still be here….God help us

    1. 🤣 Maybe some people are just built different. Full time, stressful job at 80? That sounds like literal hell to me.

  3. I know even when I am writing this, that it would never happen but….
    I really wish it was possible for some portion of the USD put into the Dura was invested outside the country. Say 25% divided into different areas. Where? Anywhere but Zimbabwe I would even accept it being invested in Somalia! At least when they tell me my money was gone I could accept that it was because some lunatic in a suicide vest blew up the building they used my money to buy. 🙂 :). This way it might be possible to preserve some value no matter what happens in Zimbabwean economy.
    This will never happen but its nice to dream 🙁

    1. My father worked hard and had a good job he managed to build himself a house n buy a nice 10tn truck.. decided to retire @55 and he was paid a mere $4000 usd by old mutual…$4000 for 32 years of contributions.. the money my old man was contributing was no joke…. MY ADVICE TO EVERYBODDY please research the pension fund you are in or about to join please please, otherwise like my father you will retire with peanuts. YOU WILL WASTE YOUR LIFE THINKING YOU ARE SECURE FINANCIALLY AND AT THE END OF THE DAY HAVE OLD MUTUAL F*** YOU IN THE FACE. old mutual is a joke kama muriko zivayi kuti hapana hapana.i Tanatswa stand by my words even in court

    2. what assets will the funds be invested in to get a return for the contributor?

      That is very important in determining how much you will have in the long term.

      What costs will the contributor be looking at for the management of their funds.

      Short-term thinking and wealth do not co-exist.

  4. Zim in the only place where a person who squandered their salary and a person who saved, can find themselves on equal footing. The one who squandered at least knows where their money went and has good stories to tell😝! The “NMB” Pension fund may be better.

  5. Econet has been running ads for all their latest products on Star FM for quite a while now. Today they were advertising this Dura Product on the same station around midday

  6. 😅I’m feeling vindicated for having an irrational attachment to my old phones and not selling or dumping them but ZESA, please have mercy! I’m about to switch handsets for the 3rd time today and my brand new replacement laptop battery is racking up charge cycles at a dangerous rate!

  7. My challenge is that if I subscribe, then one or two years later the GVT decides to do away with the USD, what will happen with my funds??
    This has happened twice in my life. In 2008 to 2009 my investments were lost in banks and insurance companies. Then again in 2017 to 2019 my outstanding portion of my salaries from the company I was working for, which was in in USD, was paid RTGS.

    You think twice before you embark on that really.

  8. Zim pensions are peanuts so its beta to invest either in stocks, land or real estate otherwise until we have laws that guarantees a real pension for me it’s a pass

  9. I would rather build a strong room in my house and buy a safe, deposit my hard earned usd there. Once bitten twice shy, In this country savings/ investments held by an institution are not safe at all regardless of the currency. I would rather put my pillows to good use and store my funds inside

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