Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

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Local startup to provide housing finance to the informally employed. Yes, mortgages for those without pay slips

If you’re an urban dwelling millennial like most of our readers are, chances are you don’t own a house. This is a global phenomenon, millennials are poorer than the generation before them.  The Zimbabwean economy has especially been rough and official stats say about half of urban dwellers are renting. Personal experience says the actual […]

Zimbabwean wants to take 1 mil traders online and raise US$5 billion, hmmm

E-Commerce company Appletree Digital Commerce, today unveiled the Taking One Million African Traders Online Movement (TOMATO)– its solution to the lack of opportunities for the youth across Africa. “We came across some alarming statistics which inspired us to think differently about how we could provide practical solutions to help young Africans to realise their entrepreneurial […]

Fintech startups! Check out the US$50K Last Mile Money Accelerator

At Last Mile Money, our mission is to bring world-class financial services — like high-interest savings, auto payout insurance, radically affordable remittances, and more — to millions of last-mile users. We believe that thoughtfully designed solutions can help build financial resilience and create pathways to a better life for millions of last-mile users. Today, this […]

Blockchain startup Uhuru Wallet included in RBZ Fintech Sandbox

While the blockchain is often touted as a game-changing technology that is capable of disrupting traditional finance, it is yet to fulfil this promise. The race to satisfy this pledge is still on but numerous obstacles such as regulatory uncertainty are standing in the way. For different reasons, regulators in some parts of the world […]

The RBZ suspended InnBucks and Access Forex domestic transfers temporarily. Let’s discuss what that was all about.

In what came as a shock to most, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe ordered Simbisa Brands (Private) Ltd to cease operating InnBucks, its rewards and loyalty program (money transfer service) last week.  The RBZ was concerned about the money transfer service part of InnBucks. According to the RBZ, InnBucks did not have the necessary approvals […]

Innbucks’ growth shows OneMoney could miss yet another opportunity

Why not write yet another article about Innbucks? The Simbisa Brands owned ‘wallet’ service which has been suspended by the central bank had achieved an incredible run. They came out of nowhere and their run in such a short time is way more inspiring than Zimbabwe’s second most popular mobile money service by number of […]

No, InnBucks is NOT phasing out USSD but service disruption came at worst time

Earlier this week through yesterday, the 13th of April, InnBucks’ USSD platform faced challenges. Users would get a message that the USSD service was not available. As a result users had to use the app instead to conduct their business.  InnBucks communicated that they were working with Econet engineers to resolve the problem in a […]

2 Zim fintech startups selected for Dubai financial inclusion accelerator

The Catapult: Inclusion Africa is an initiative that is run by the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT) Foundation and aims at advancing financial inclusion and empowering groups that “have been left behind by the traditional system”. The program is open to all sorts of fintech startups starting from those that offer financial services for […]

FINSEC to roll-out automated contract writing & derivatives trading

While browsing on Twitter, we came across a thread on the Financial Securities Exchange (Private) Limited’s (FINSEC) official account, that said it was working on automated contract writing and derivatives trading. The thread by FINSEC reads as follows: FINSEC will be introducing automated contract writing and derivatives trading, complete with direct integration of the trading, […]

Blockchain startups! Check out this US$20K Africa-wide Bootcamp

DFS Lab and Stellar have announced that applications are open for our second Blockchain Bootcamp, designed to give early to mid-stage startups in Africa an opportunity to build on Stellar, an open-source blockchain network for financial services and products. The Bootcamp will culminate in a demo day where companies with the most promising solutions built on Stellar will be […]

Zimbabwe trending in opposite direction to the rest of the world in fintech

Zimbabwe has a fascinating financial history. As a nation we have always been interested in the world of finance. In the early nineties, the Zimbabwean government liberalised the banking sector and in just over a decade, 14 new indegenous banks had been licenced. Yes, fourteen banking licences were issued, from CBZ in 1991 to Time […]

112 RBZ fintech sandbox registrations but what has it achieved in nearly a year?

So… Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr Mangudya released the Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) yesterday ahead of the scheduled date that was mentioned in The Sunday Mail… Well, that’s all good with me because in the MPS we got more than a paragraph about the RBZ’s Fintech Regulatory Sandbox. In the MPS, the Central […]

2022 MPS wrap: Mobile money limits, crypto, remittances & more

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe yesterday released the 2022 Monetary Policy Statement (MPS). The central bank laid out a number of new measures and here are the highlights from the document. New Mobile Money limits The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has revised the mobile money limits for person-to-business from ZWL$20,000 to ZWL$25,000 with an overall […]

Zim would benefit from this Nigerian ethical debt-collection platform

In my travels on the internet, I came across a Nigerian startup called BFree that recently closed a US$1.7 million Series A round. It’s a credit management fintech that deals in ethical debt collection and it kind of took me aback because of my Zimbabwean sensibilities when it comes to borrowing. Debt, or chikwereti in […]

Fintech’s US$3 billion dominance in Africa should be a wake-up call for RBZ’s Sandbox

African fintech startups reigned supreme when it comes to attracting funding from investors. According to a report by Techcrunch, out of the US$5 billion raised by all African startups, Fintech accounted for US$3 billion. This increase is double what fintech startups were able to raise in 2020 and speaks to the appetite for innovation in […]

InnBucks to become more compelling domestic remittance provider with 92 new outlets in 2022

I have been enjoying the domestic remittance battle taking place. It seems there is a new player joining the fight every week. Meaning we could already have too many eaters and not enough pie.  It is a weird battle though, because we seem to have come full circle. We had solved this local remittance puzzle, […]

Ecocash Holdings Zimbabwe & Comviva win Silver in 2 categories at Emerging Payments Awards

Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe, trading as EcoCash Holdings Zimbabwe Limited, together with its long-term technology partner Comviva, has won two silver awards at this year’s Emerging Payments Awards. Cassava Smartech and Comviva won the silver for the Green financial inclusion initiative by mobile money platform EcoCash in the “Best Direct Account to Account Solution” and “Most Innovative Mobile or […]

Cassava results: EcoCash revenue drops by $5bn, Steward Bank’s by $1.4bn in tough year

Cassava SmarTech (trading as EcoCash Holdings) released the audited financial statements for the year ended 21 February 2021. These are the statements that were delayed resulting in the suspension of the trading of Cassava shares on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) for a few weeks. The delay was because of technical accounting issues as we […]

Yet again, EcoSure registers users without consent and deducts money

Almost every single startup has dreams of one day launching an IPO. Going public has its charms, access to cheaper funding being the main draw. However, being publicly traded has its drawbacks. That cheaper funding comes with scrutiny and certain expectations from investors. Econet and EcoSure have investors too, hence expectations. That is what is […]

Cassava Smartech Zim, now trading as EcoCash Holdings Zimbabwe features at ZITF

Diversified fintech group Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe Limited, which is now trading as EcoCash Holdings Zimbabwe Limited, is exhibiting at this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) where it has put up a state-of-the-art stand bringing together all its business units and brands. Although attendance at this year’s edition of the ZITF is somewhat subdued due […]

Wa-Faya now automatically carries voucher balances over

It’s been two months since Simbisa brands launched their Diaspora focused Wa-Faya vouchers and it seems they are actually working hard to make this a success. They have made a couple of improvements since they started. Including adding the Rand EFT payment option for the sake of those in South Africa but unfortunately, the system […]

US Courts tell Apple they cannot stop developers from using alternative payment systems

Apple has just been dealt a death blow in their court case where Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, are suing them over some of their App Store policies and terms and conditions. A court in California, where Apple is located, has ruled that Apple cannot force developers to exclusively use their Apple Pay platform. […]

This Ecocash horror story shows how systems can fail you

Earlier this week I wrote about the need to make banks and Zimbabwe’s financial institutions accountable for some of the losses that people suffer through hacking and fraud incidents. There was a lot of debate on both sides, especially the more security conscious among our readers insisting that it’s the responsibility of account holders, not […]

BancABC is running prepaid Visa money-back promotion

In case you haven’t noticed there is a prepaid Visa/MasterCard promotion war out there as banks duke each other in a bid to win your cash. BancABC has been at the forefront of these wars with various promotions including one involving Spotify and Apple Music as well as offering Chicken Hut meals to those who […]

Full Text: ZSE Direct adds Odd Lot Board in a bid to lure individual investors

Last year the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange launched its own direct trading platform, ZSE Direct putting in competition with FINSEC’s C-Trade. Now a year later they are adding a new feature to their offering-Odd Lot Board. This may be their attempt to lure individual, casual and low-value investors. They have now set the minimum buy amount […]

Banks need to pay back the money lost by account-holders to scammers & hackers

Recently one of South Africa’s leading banks, FNB, lost an interesting suit involving about R2.9 million or about US$202 000 being siphoned out of a client’s bank account. The client who can only be described as technically challenged was duped using an online social engineering scheme, he gave the thieves his personal details which allowed […]

South African to launch a digital currency called the E-Rand, we have been having it

One of the most memorable ads from the last decade is, at least for me, the Vodacom “we have been having it” series of ads including this one. In them, an Id Amin inspired character expresses amazement that people are constantly praising (yep yep yeping) Vodacom’s features like custom ring tones and having up to […]

Zimnat partners with BancABC in their Gadziriro sign up drive

Recently I decided to have my own funeral policy cover for me and my family. For years, I am ashamed to say, I had been relying on my parents’ cover but the third wave of COVID-19 and my own personal health demons made me confront my own mortality and I decided to go on the […]

Socialite closes Gofundme campaign after it torched a storm on social media

Crowdsourcing is nothing new to Zimbabweans. Several famous fundraising pitches have been made over the years including one that raised close to $100 000 for Cyclone Idai victims. Medical appeals are also not uncommon with several cash-strapped Zimbabweans using the platform to try and raise medical fees for expensive medical procedures. The latest such medical […]

NSSA closes scores of pensioner accounts in a bid to weed out ghost accounts

Zimbabwe’s National Social and Security Authority (NSSA) has always been accused of harbouring a lot of ghost accounts on its books among scores of other improprieties revealed in several audits. Lately, they embarked on a mission to rectify this anomaly but they seemed to have bungled it. Now their latest attempt to clean the books […]