Zimbabwe Mobile-Money Directive May Halt Commerce, Operator Says
(Bloomberg) — A Zimbabwean government directive banning the purchase and sale of cash through mobile-money services may halt much of the nation’s commerce as the biggest system will have to be shut down temporarily, its operator said. The ban, a directive aimed at stabilizing a monetary system that’s spiraling out of control as the national currency plunges, can’t be effected unless the Ecocash.
The ban, a directive aimed at stabilizing a monetary system that’s spiraling out of control as the national currency plunges, can’t be effected unless the Ecocash mobile money system is “pulled down,” Econet Group unit Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe Ltd. said in a filing Tuesday at the High Court of Zimbabwe.
A chronic shortage of cash in Zimbabwe has driven most commerce onto electronic platforms, the most popular of which is Ecocash. The economy is set for its first contraction since 2008, has an inflation rate that’s estimated at more than 900% by some analysts and is struggling to pay for sufficient food and fuel imports. Ecocash has about 6.4 million active users in a country of about 14 million people.
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