Zimbabwe Proposes Return of Mobile Money Agents to Promote ZiG

In July 2020, Zimbabwe banned mobile money agents from operating in the country. The government believed that the agents encouraged black market currency trading practices that caused the destabilization of the previous Zimbabwean dollar.

However, after reviewing the suspension, Zimbabwe’s Treasury has proposed to re-allow mobile money agents to continue their operations in order to boost the use of ZiG, the country’s latest currency. Launched on the April 5, in hopes that the new currency would boost the economy, its value has instead taken a dip. Initially trading at 13.53 ZiG per $1, it fell to a record low of 13.67 ZiG just one month later.

The proposal would allow mobile agents from Econet Wireless, NetOne, and Telecel to operate in the coming weeks. Through this, the government aims to enhance the new currency, and reduce reliance on unofficial currencies.

As Kuda Mnangagwa, the deputy finance minister told lawmakers in the parliament last week, “The agents will act as a bureaux de change and help the public access small amounts of foreign currency for everyday use. This means if you have an Econet line and if you register for Ecocash, you can convert from ZiG to US dollars or from US dollars to ZiG at the official exchange rate. That is the first part to allow inter-changeability without having to go to the streets,”

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This isn’t the only measure taken by the country to make sure that ZiG gets on the right track. The National Prosecuting Authority reported the arrests of about 100 street money traders nationwide for alleged involvement in selling against the official rate, which contributes to the currency crisis.

The government released a notice that it will fine businesses 200,000 ZiG ($14,815) for offering exchange rates higher than the official rate of 13.5 ZiG per $1.
Additionally, businesses caught selling goods or services using an exchange rate higher than the interbank selling rate will be committing a civil offence.

Furthermore, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe released a statement expecting that all the online payment platforms convert their customers’ balances to ZiG before April 12.

Techrectory with Agency Report.

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