Zimbabwe resists cashless transaction

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STHANDEKILE MAGIDA

THE coin system introduction in the Zimbabwean economy continues to give much debate as indicated by the responses I obtained from the last article.

I got a particularly interesting response from a very good friend who is an electrical engineer and lives in the United Kingdom.

Usually a person of a very few words, he had quite a number of issues to put across. Some of them had me rolling in laughter as I read through his submission.

He categorically said that he had questions for me concerning why we still wanted coins in this day and age as if we lived in the Medieval times.

Actually that was my whole point of laughing. In the progressive world, people would wonder what I was talking about as my friend put it across to me.

He said he did not remember the last time he had cash in his wallet, let alone coins. I said to him neither do I remember the last time I actually had cash in my wallet, but of course, it was for different reasons to which he also rolled in laughter.

While it is well and good for our counterparts who live abroad to suggest that Zimbabwe should be moving away from the coin system, it is not entirely possible and is largely still a myth as far as I am concerned.

Our Internet systems are still in the basic developmental stages and very few of our people are Internet savvy. A cashless society would involve a great advancement in this area which is still far off.

We lag far behind countries like Zambia if their ICT strategies are to be compared to the Zimbabwean ones.

I travel a lot by road to and from Harare. As I stopped in Mvuma to get myself a drink the other day, I just happened to ask if I could pay using my debit card and they said they did not have point of sale machines.

This is despite the fact that they are situated on a very busy highway that would see them increasing their sales if they had point of sale, Visa and MasterCard machines.

I, however, was not too surprised as I have an idea of where we are as a country.

My friend said he wondered why those Zimbabweans who had become largely successful by taking advantage of copy and paste strategies, to put it in his words, were not cutting and pasting the cashless strategies of electronic transactions from the progressive world.

Well, I could not give an answer to that in the immediate, but I reckon that even if the strategies were there and all that was needed was to cut and paste them to make the economy a card-based, electronic transaction economy, we would still need the financial muscle and the technical resources to put up the system throughout the country and get it running efficiently in the very immediate.

My friend also asked why academic gurus in the society were failing to adopt what he called “simple approaches” like those of the progressive world.

I would like to think that some academic guru somewhere is working on this and that hopefully in our lifetime we will see this economy drawing more and more to electronic transactions.

I, of course, value this stimulating debate and hope that I will continue to receive more of it so we can continue to enlighten and to be enlightened.

On another note, I am worried about the fact that my WhatsApp bundles never seem to work if I do not have regular airtime.

I have never quite taken the time to read the terms and conditions of these bundles, but from my common sense once I have bought bundles for a month I should comfortably use these for the month without any inconvenience.

I have up to now never thought of moving from Econet as I have always thought it was a great network, but of late I am beginning to think twice.

My costs as an Econet subscriber seem to have increased astronomically, but well, so much for that . . . till next week keep reading the Red Publication and remain Brand Savvy.