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Zimbabwe Looks to Revive Mobile Money Service Amid Past Currency Crisis

Zimbabwe's government has announced plans to revive its mobile money service, which it previously blamed for a currency crash in the country. The move is seen as an effort to harness the potential of digital financial services to address the challenges of the country's monetary system and boost financial inclusion.


In 2019, Zimbabwe experienced a severe currency crisis that led to the collapse of its local currency and hyperinflation. The government attributed the crisis to the proliferation of mobile money services, particularly the dominant player in the market, EcoCash, which was accused of fueling the black market exchange rate and exacerbating the country's economic woes.

As a response, the government suspended mobile money transactions and mandated that all mobile money operators were required to freeze agent accounts. The move was heavily criticized by many, including tech and financial experts, who argued that mobile money services were providing a lifeline to millions of Zimbabweans who lacked access to traditional banking services.

Revival Plans

However, in a surprising turn of events, the government has now expressed its intention to revive the mobile money service. In a statement, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube, announced that the government was working on a policy framework to bring back mobile money services in a regulated and controlled environment.

The decision to revive mobile money services comes at a time when Zimbabwe is grappling with a severe foreign currency shortage and a struggling economy. The government acknowledges the potential of digital financial services in addressing these challenges and aims to leverage the technology to facilitate financial transactions and promote economic growth.

Regulatory Framework

As part of the revival plans, the government has indicated that it will introduce a robust regulatory framework to govern the operations of mobile money operators. This framework is expected to outline clear guidelines and standards for the industry, ensuring that mobile money services operate in a transparent and accountable manner.

The move to regulate the mobile money sector is seen as a step towards restoring confidence in the financial system and addressing concerns about illicit activities and unmonitored financial transactions that were previously associated with mobile money services in the country.

Boosting Financial Inclusion

One of the key objectives of reviving mobile money services is to promote financial inclusion in Zimbabwe. With a large unbanked population, especially in rural areas, mobile money has the potential to provide access to financial services for millions of people who are currently excluded from the formal banking system.

By harnessing the power of mobile technology, the government aims to create an inclusive financial ecosystem that enables individuals and businesses to participate in the formal economy, access credit, and engage in digital transactions, thereby contributing to overall economic development.

Addressing Challenges

While the government's decision to revive mobile money services has been met with cautious optimism, there are lingering concerns about the challenges that led to the previous currency crisis. It will be essential to address these challenges to ensure that the revival of mobile money services does not repeat the mistakes of the past.

One of the critical issues that need to be addressed is the management of foreign currency transactions within the mobile money ecosystem. The government will need to establish robust mechanisms to monitor and regulate foreign currency transactions to prevent the abuse and misuse of foreign currency, which was a significant concern during the previous crisis.

Furthermore, developing strong consumer protection measures and enhancing cybersecurity in the mobile money sector will be crucial to safeguard the interests of users and prevent fraudulent activities that could undermine the stability and integrity of the financial system.

Economic Impact

The revival of mobile money services has the potential to have a significant economic impact on Zimbabwe. By reintroducing digital financial services and promoting electronic transactions, the government aims to reduce the reliance on cash, which has been in short supply due to the currency crisis.

Moreover, the revival of mobile money services could contribute to increased productivity and efficiency in the economy by facilitating faster and more convenient financial transactions. Businesses can benefit from the convenience of digital payments, while individuals can access a wide range of financial services through their mobile phones, such as savings, credit, and insurance.

Public Perception

The announcement of the government's plans to revive mobile money services has generated mixed reactions from the public. While some express optimism about the potential benefits of digital financial services, others remain skeptical, citing the previous crisis and expressing concerns about the government's ability to effectively regulate and oversee the sector.

However, many also acknowledge the necessity of embracing digital financial services in a rapidly evolving global economy and see the revival of mobile money services as a step towards modernizing Zimbabwe's financial infrastructure and fostering economic growth.


The decision to revive mobile money services in Zimbabwe marks a significant shift in the government's approach to digital financial services, especially considering the earlier crackdown on mobile money operators. By introducing a regulated framework and focusing on promoting financial inclusion, the government aims to harness the potential of mobile money to address the country's economic challenges and drive sustainable growth.

While there are lingering concerns about the past currency crisis and the need to address regulatory and security challenges, the revival of mobile money services holds promise for Zimbabwe's economy and the millions of unbanked individuals who stand to benefit from improved access to financial services. As the government works towards implementing its revival plans, it will be crucial to ensure that the lessons from the past crisis are heeded, and the regulatory framework is robust enough to promote transparency, accountability, and stability in the mobile money sector.

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