Zimbabwean banks lack innovations. It is true our banks are well developed but they lack technological advancement. What do I mean here? The banking sector has largely failed to provide for the needs of the majority of Zimbabweans by failing to supply cash to its people for many years now. When cash shortages came banks increased withdrawal fees while tightening withdrawal limits.
Meanwhile, to curb the problem of cash crisis people have resorted to using mobile money transfers such as Ecocash and One money. The RBZ’s “innovation” to using plastic money is not really an innovation but just a way of survival since there is no other way.
The recently announced Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) which was released by the governor of the Reserve Bank on February 17, 2020 is not saying much as the statement is ambiguous on the actual policy direction relating to the local currency. We are not even in the first quarter of the year but the local currency has already slid, as the rate went up on both the interbank and parallel markets to ZW$17,9: US$1 and ZW$30:US$1 respectively. This will continue to shrink the economy.
Taking a look at other African banking sectors, one can see how backward our local banks are. I will just give a glimpse of the technological advancement of banks from other African countries.
Kenya’s Equity Bank is one example of transformation success, having introduced a wide range of banking products on digital channels, such as the Equitel mobile banking service. The bank has also digitised entire customer journeys, such as customer onboarding.
Pan-African Ecobank is planning to transform all its businesses with digital technology; its digital strategy is to deploy in-house innovation to meet customer expectations and also leverage alliances with global financial service providers to offer various corporate and retail banking solutions.
Discovery Bank South Africa offers an innovative insurance service in South Africa called Discovery Life, which is personalised to a customer’s financial health and behaviour. Thus offering Customer Orientation.
East Africa’s Commercial Bank of Africa Group, recently launched a mobile bank account named M-Shwari in partnership with mobile money provider, M-Pesa and telecom company, Safaricom. For many Africans, M-Shwari is the gateway to formal banking.