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. The group’s subsidiaries include Econet Mobile Networks Group, Liquid Telecom, Cassava SmarTech, Distributed Power Africa, Vaya Africa and Technites Africa.
Inspired to change your world!
|ZSE: ECO (Zimbabwe subsidiary only)
||Johannesburg, South Africa
Group Founder and Executive Chairman
Group Managing Director and CEO
- Internet services
- Solar energy
- Renewable energy
- Video on demand
|| US$3 billion (2011)
History of Econet Global
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.
In 1998, Econet was granted a telephony licence, at a time when 70% of the country inhabitants had never heard a ringtone.
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. 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.
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.
In October 2014, Econet acquired VimpelCom’s Telecel in Burundi (U-COM) and Telecel in the Central African Republic (Telecel RCA) for $65 million.
In 2014, the listed Econet Wireless Zimbabwe announced a 14.7% drop in annual profits, from $140 million down to $119 million. 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. 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. In June 2015, despite the economic turmoil, the company distributed $15 million in dividends to shareholders.
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. The holding company of the Econet Group, Econet Global Ltd, is registered in Mauritius.
Econet Global Subsidiaries
- 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
- Vaya – a ride hailing and logistics service.
- 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). 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