Home » Zimbabwe’s richest man Strive Masiyiwa’s company set to trade in new currency

Zimbabwe’s richest man Strive Masiyiwa’s company set to trade in new currency

The announcement follows the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya's monetary policy statement on Fri., April 5, 2024

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Strive Masiyiwa

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (Econet), a leading telecom company controlled by Zimbabwe’s richest man Strive Masiyiwa, has suspended trading in the Zimbabwean dollar (ZWL) on its platforms. This move comes as the nation prepares to launch a new currency, the ZiG, backed by a basket of foreign currencies and gold.

The announcement follows the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya’s monetary policy statement on Fri., April 5, 2024. During a press conference in Harare, Mangudya unveiled the ZiG (Zimbabwe Gold), set for an initial exchange rate of 13.56 per U.S. dollar.

Telecom giant addresses customer concerns

Additionally, a new benchmark interest rate of 20 percent was established to combat the nation’s two-decade economic struggles. This replaces the previous rate of 130 percent, the highest globally. Governor Mangudya confirmed existing ZWL balances would be automatically converted to ZiG by banks.

“We would like to advise our valued customers that we are currently in the process of configuring our systems to allow the changeover from the ZWL currency to the new ZIG currency in compliance with Statutory Instrument (SI) 60 of 2024,” the company stated in a press release. This ensures compatibility with the new currency by Mon., April 8, 2024.

The telecom giant addressed customer concerns regarding pre-purchased airtime and data bundles, stating that bundles bought before the ZWL suspension will remain usable until expiry. However, main account balances will be converted to ZiG at the prevailing exchange rate during the transition.

Econet’s earlier consolidation aimed to boost efficiency

A subsidiary of the Econet Group, Econet Zimbabwe under the leadership of Strive Masiyiwa stands as a diversified telecommunications conglomerate boasting a rich operational history exceeding two decades. The company enjoys an extensive subscriber base exceeding 14 million and maintains a presence across Africa, Europe, South America, and East Asia.

The diversified telecommunications conglomerate unveiled plans earlier this month to reunite various entities under its umbrella. This strategic restructuring, which includes its mobile money arm EcoCash, aims to enhance operational efficiency and offer a wider product portfolio to customers. The move signals Econet’s intent to solidify its position within the financial technology (fintech) sector.

Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwe’s wealthiest businessman and a prominent figure among the world’s Black billionaires with an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion, retains a significant 52.85-percent stake in Econet Zimbabwe.

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