Orange Money Botswana, EcoCash Expand Mobile Payments System

June 15, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Remittances, the practice of sending cash from individuals in one country to those in another—usually family—have benefited quite a bit from mobile payments systems, especially in the last few months. Now, one such partnership—between Orange Money Botswana and EcoCash—is getting a little extra boost.

With the newly-expanded partnership, those with an Orange Money mobile wallet can use it to transfer cash in real-time back to an EcoCash mobile wallet. Such a process makes it easier to perform such actions, in  some cases within minutes, which is great if there’s a sudden emergency between normal remittance payments.

Orange Botswana’s CEO Dr. Patrick Benon noted “This service will enable better and more affordable access to digital money transfers between Zimbabwe and Botswana. The partnership is aligned to our innovation efforts aimed at offering our customers more cost-effective solutions to facilitate both cross-border and domestic money transfers.”

A good chunk of Zimbabwe’s economy, at last report, counts on remittances, so with over 600,000 Orange Money subscribers in play, this should represent a significant boost therein. It’s also a pretty safe bet that poverty in the country will be directly impacted by the ability to route cash not only faster, but also more reliably.

Since Zimbabwe is perhaps most famous for that stretch of 2008 in which inflation was running at 11.2 million percent annually, it’s sadly not a big surprise that one of its biggest sources of revenue is “people sending money from other countries.” So a development like this, where it’s easier than ever to send money into the country, should be well-received. It might have been better if the country had developed its own economy to the point where it doesn’t need remittances, but that’s neither here nor there. Payments received reliably are more readily spent; it adds to the so-called “wealth effect”, a psychological impact of income. More spending may well yield more market opportunities, more jobs, and perhaps a reduced need for remittances.

For now, the new connection between Orange Botswana and EcoCash should be a welcome one, driving further spending in-country. In fact, it might be just the catalyst that’s needed for more localized development, and if mobile payments can help on this front, well, that’s even better.