Diaspora boost: Econet opens two free remittance corridors for Zimbabweans abroad

Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s largest telecommunications and technology company, has opened two free remittance corridors into the country, cutting out the cost to both sender and receiver.

Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom and South Africa can now send money free of charge to Zimbabwe via Econet associate Sasai Money Transfer. The receiver at home cashes out of their EcoCash wallet for free. Currently, international remittances attract a charge of up to 15% for the sender and 3% for the receiver.

The company’s move may boost diaspora remittances into the country; Zimbabweans abroad last year sent home US$1.87 billion through official channels, 16% more than they did in 2022. South Africa and the UK are the two largest sources of remittances into Zimbabwe and host the largest populations of Zimbabweans abroad.

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe CEO Douglas Mboweni says by dropping charges, Econet is responding to the need to ease the impact of drought on people receiving remittances. The country recently declared a national disaster after the worst drought in decades left over 2.7 million people in need of food aid.

“We hope Zimbabweans in the Diaspora will use the savings to send more money home to their families,” Mboweni said. “The majority of remittances to Zimbabwe are conducted through these two main corridors (the UK and South Africa). We do not have to pay any third parties on those corridors because we rely on a sister company in the group, which agreed to help out.”

Mboweni has challenged other companies in the remittances space to take Econet’s led and cut their fees. It is time remittances into Africa were brought down “to assist with the continent’s economic development agenda”, he says.

Econet will rely on its EcoCash agent network, which gives it extensive reach, including in rural areas. Econet said Remittance transfers will be facilitated through the EcoCash US dollar wallet, which is accessible by dialling *153# on an EcoCash registered Econet line. Senders in the UK and South Africa can access Sasai Money Transfer by downloading the Sasai Money Transfer App on the Google Play Store and on the App Store.