Econet Global

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Traded asZSEECO (Zimbabwe subsidiary only)
Founded1993; 27 years ago (1993)
HeadquartersJohannesburg, South Africa
Area served
South America
East Asia
Key people
Strive Masiyiwa
Group Founder and Executive Chairman
Hardy Pemhiwa
Group Managing Director and CEO
RevenueIncrease US$ 3 billion (2011)

Econet, officially known as Econet Global Ltd, is a diversified telecommunications group with operations and investments in Africa, Europe, South America and the East Asia Pacific Rim, offering products and services in the core areas of mobile and fixed telephony services, broadband, satellite, optical fiber networks and mobile payment.[1]

The group's subsidiaries include Econet Mobile Networks Group, Liquid Telecom, Cassava SmarTech, Distributed Power Africa, Vaya Africa and Technites Africa.[2]


Econet was created in 1993 in Zimbabwe by Strive Masiyiwa. Initially it was meant to be called "Enhanced Communications Network" but was later abbreviated to Econet.[3]

In 1998, Econet was granted a telephony licence, at a time when 70% of the country inhabitants had never heard a ringtone.[4]

In 2005, Econet developed a mobile payment system to help NGOs make cash transfers to refugees after the Burundi war. The model was extended and integrated in Econet's technology, along with a credit solution.[4] EcoCash was officially launched in 2011 and is operated by Econet Enterprises. Within 18 months of its launch, 31% of Zimbabwe's adult population registered to the service. By November 2017, the service had over 6.7 million registered users, accounting for 80% of adult Zimbabweans or 52% of all citizens.[5]

In February 2013, Econet acquired a controlling interest in the then TN Bank Zimbabwe, one of the local commercial banks in Zimbabwe, and renamed it Steward Bank. The bank, whose shares were previously listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), were delisted when it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Econet.[6]

In October 2014, Econet acquired VimpelCom's Telecel in Burundi (U-COM) and Telecel in the Central African Republic (Telecel RCA) for $65 million.[7]

In 2014, the listed Econet Wireless Zimbabwe announced a 14.7% drop in annual profits, from $140 million down to $119 million.[8] In October 2015, due to dropping profits, following a state regulator-enforced tariff reduction, the company announced a 100-employee layoff to cope with the losses.[9] In 2015, due to increasing losses, the group imposed a 20 percent salary cut to its employees in Zimbabwe, and negotiated a 15 percent discount with its suppliers, even though its service EcoCash continues to prosper in the country.[10] In June 2015, despite the economic turmoil, the company distributed $15 million in dividends to shareholders.[11]

The group[edit]

Econet is a privately owned group and is not listed on any stock exchange. One of its subsidiaries, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and its activities are confined only to the Zimbabwe market. The group is controlled by its founder, Strive Masiyiwa, and is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa.[4] The holding company of the Econet Group, Econet Global Ltd, is registered in Mauritius.[12]


  • Econet Mobile Networks: Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, Econet Wireless South Africa, Econet Telecom Lesotho, Mascom Botswana, Econet Leo, Telecel RCA, Bharti Airtel Nigeria, Econet Wireless UK, Trilogy International Partners, 2 Degrees Mobile (New Zealand), Nueva Tel (Viva Bolivia), Trilogy Dominicana (Viva Dominica)
  • Liquid Telecom Group: Neotel, ZOL, Transaction Payment Solutions, Liquid Telecom Zambia, Liquid Telecom Botswana, Liquid Telecom Rwanda, Liquid Telecom DRC, Liquid Telecom Tanzania, Liquid Telecom Kenya, Infocom (Uganda), East Africa Data Centre
  • Cassava Smartech:
    • EcoCash: A money transfer/ payment service which provides a savings account, international transfers, banking services, payroll services, and became a solution to pay for public transportation in October 2012. Since March 2013, EcoCash is also available as a payment solution for retailers in Zimbabwe[5]
    • EcoSchool - a Zimbabwean zero-rated e-learning service.
    • EcoHealth - a Zimbabwean mobile phone health advisory service.
    • Ruzivo - a Zimbabwean zero-rated e-learning service.
    • Cassava Remit - a UK-based online money transfer agent, remitting to South Africa and Zimbabwe.
    • Ownai - a Zimbabwean e-commerce service.
    • Cumii Technologies - an Internet of Things (IoT) company, with products such as Connected Home, Connected Health, Connected Energy and Connected Car.
  • Steward Bank
  • Distributed Power Africa: Manufacturer and distributor of solar, wind and off-grid energy products, for the global market, and in particular developing countries. The Home Power Station was first launched in Durban during the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).[13] Following the success of Home Power, Econet has now also ventured into wind energy as well as off-grid power supply.
  • Solarway - a UAE-based solar power products provider.
  • Imvelo Safari Lodges - an award-winning group of Zimbabwean ecotourism safari lodges.
  • Worldstream Systems and Services
  • Telelogistics


  1. ^ Reuters (9 May 2018). "Profile: Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited (ECO.ZI)". Reuters India. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  2. ^ "About Econet". Harare: Econet. 16 October 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  3. ^ Isha Sesay, and Chris Borg (20 August 2015). "'Africa is not going to be left behind or outside the data revolution'". Atlanta: Cable News Network. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Leach, Anna (18 August 2014). "Zimbabwe's Econet Wireless and the making of Africa's first cashless society". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b Sengere, Leonard (10 November 2017). "EcoCash has processed over $23 billion since launch and that's not the only impressive figure". Harare: Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  6. ^ Sibanda, Golden (7 February 2013). "Zimbabwe: TN Bank to Delist From ZSE". The Herald (Zimbabwe) via Harare. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  7. ^ (18 February 2018). "Econet Global buys Telecel East Africa operations". United Kingdom: New Zimbabwe Media Limited. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  8. ^ Reuters (5 May 2014). "Zimbabwe's Econet Wireless says full-year profit down 15 percent". Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  9. ^ Staff Reporter (7 October 2015). "Econet Wireless to retrench". The Financial Gazette. Harare. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  10. ^ Kazunga, Oliver (16 October 2015). "Econet profits drop 52 percent". The Chronicle (Zimbabwe). Bulawayo. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  11. ^ Kachembere, John (2 June 2015). "Econet declares whopping $15 million dividend". Harare: Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  12. ^ Zengeni, Happiness (20 January 2017). "Who is Econet Global? What are they up to?". The Herald (Zimbabwe). Harare. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  13. ^ CNN (12 December 2011). "Climate change and the private sector" (Video). Atlanta: Cable News Network (CNN). Retrieved 11 May 2018.

External links[edit]