The government of Zimbabwe has pulled back from a threat to shut down all mobile money services in the country as it looks to target ‘malpractices, criminality and economic sabotage perpetrated by the wolves in sheep skins amongst our population’. Following an initial statement from Information Secretary Nick Mangwana at the weekend which caused uproar among the millions of mobile money users, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) quickly moved to clarify the government’s position. Rather than targeting all users, mobile money agents and bulk payer lines are being closed, with merchant-to-merchant transactions also suspended, but other forms of transaction, including payments for utility bills, can still be carried out.
As part of its temporary measures to combat fraud and corruption, the government has also banned trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).
According to industry regulator POTRAZ, the total number of active mobile money subscriptions grew by 2% in the final three months of 2019 to reach 7,334,639 as of end-December, with Econet’s EcoCash service accounting for 93% of all users.