Zimbabwe’s largest supermarket chain, OK Zimbabwe Limited, has become the first major retailer to be connected to EcoCash, Econet Wireless’ mobile money service.

OK has assumed an EcoCash “Super-Agent” status, and will be performing agent services for EcoCash throughout its branches across the country. Under this partnership, every OK outlet will now register customers for EcoCash and also perform cashing in and cashing out functions for EcoCash.

In a joint statement by Econet and OK Zimbabwe released today, Econet Services CEO Mr. Darlington Mandivenga said that their goal is to increase accessibility of EcoCash to as many people in this country as possible.

the largest retail chain with 54 outlets, OK Zimbabwe has significant traffic in their stores, and we therefore saw the opportunity to provide EcoCash services in their branch network to cater for these customers,” he said.

Albert Katsande, the Chief Operating Officer for OK Zimbabwe, said that the partnership with EcoCash is in line with their move into the financial services sector. More importantly, this partnership will attract some of the over two million EcoCash customers to OK Zimbabwe branches.

“Naturally, the customers will find it more convenient to shop in our stores,” Mr Katsande said. He added that the agent services will also introduce a new offering for their customers.

Douglas Mboweni, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe CEO, said that this move is in line with the company’s desire to bring as many parties as possible into the EcoCash ecosystem. “We want to partner with as many players as is possible for the benefit of our customers”, he said.

Mr Mandivenga said that this is Phase One of the partnership. “The natural development is to see OK operating as a merchant for EcoCash, which will enable customers shopping in OK to make payments using EcoCash,” he said.

Commenting on the development, Mr Willard Zireva, CEO of the OK Group, said that this partnership with Econet is welcome as it is in line with OK’s move into offering a broad range of financial services.