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Company typePrivate
ZSEECO (Zimbabwe subsidiary only)
Founded1993; 31 years ago (1993)
HeadquartersJohannesburg, South Africa
Area served
South America
East Asia
Key people
RevenueIncrease US$3 billion (2011)
Number of employees
2209 (2023)
Footnotes / references

Econet, officially known as Econet Group, 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.[2]

The group's subsidiaries include Econet Wireless, Cassava Technologies and Cassava Smartech.[3]


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.[4]

In 1998, Econet was granted a telephony licence, at a time when 70% of the country inhabitants had never heard a ringtone.[5]

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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

In October 2014, Econet acquired VimpelCom's Telecel in Burundi (U-COM) and Telecel in the Central African Republic (Telecel RCA) for $65 million.[8]

In 2014, the listed Econet Wireless Zimbabwe announced a 14.7% drop in annual profits, from $140 million down to $119 million.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] In June 2015, despite the economic turmoil, the company distributed $15 million in dividends to shareholders.[12]

The group

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.[5] The holding company of the Econet Group, Econet Global Ltd, is registered in Mauritius.[13]



  1. ^ "Econet Wireless Employee Count". 7 August 2023. Archived from the original on 7 August 2023. Retrieved 7 August 2023.
  2. ^ "Profile: Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited (ECO.ZI)". Reuters India. Reuters. 9 May 2018. Archived from the original on 12 May 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  3. ^ "About Econet". Harare: Econet. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Sibanda, Golden (7 February 2013). "Zimbabwe: TN Bank to Delist From ZSE". The Herald (Zimbabwe) via Harare. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  8. ^ (18 February 2018). "Econet Global buys Telecel East Africa operations". United Kingdom: New Zimbabwe Media Limited. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Zimbabwe's Econet Wireless says full-year profit down 15 percent". 5 May 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  10. ^ Staff Reporter (7 October 2015). "Econet Wireless to retrench". The Financial Gazette. Harare. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  11. ^ Kazunga, Oliver (16 October 2015). "Econet profits drop 52 percent". The Chronicle (Zimbabwe). Bulawayo. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  12. ^ Kachembere, John (2 June 2015). "Econet declares whopping $15 million dividend". Harare: Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  13. ^ Zengeni, Happiness (20 January 2017). "Who is Econet Global? What are they up to?". The Herald (Zimbabwe). Harare. Retrieved 11 May 2018.