Zimbabwe lifts ban on mobile money

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Zimbabwe’s central bank has lifted its ban on mobile money to cash transactions after three days of public outcry and criticism even as the government continues to struggle to contain the country’s economic crisis.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) had issued a directive for all mobile payment system providers and merchants to discontinue cash in and cash out services.  It accused mobile money agents of piling more misery on citizens by charging high rates with cash in and cash out transactions thereby effectively devaluing the Zimbabwean dollar against its US dollar benchmark on the parallel market.

It has announced that the Zimbabwe dollar will be exchanged to between 3% and 5% from the official rate, down from a 7% spread imposed less than two weeks ago.

Ecocash, a mobile-money service operated by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, has 6.7 million active users in a nation of about 14 million people.