__An exciting case study of “4IR” in Africa.
Some of you have asked me to explain the strategy behind the recent decision by one of our companies, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (EWZ), to split itself into two: EWZ and Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe (CSZ). This is actually a very good question, and shows that some of you are now in the senior class.
How I answer the question will be a little difficult because of the rules of the stock exchange, so I will not answer anything which might violate those rules.
EWZ is unusual amongst the companies in our group, because it is the only one listed on a stock exchange. I have explained how and why I made that decision 20 years ago. Recap: I wanted to raise money to expand the business.
EWZ is not the holding company of our group. It is actually a subsidiary of Econet in which we hold about 50%. The rest of EWZ is held by the general public, including institutional investors. It’s the largest company in Zimbabwe with interests limited only to what we do in the Zimbabwe market.
As a subsidiary of EWZ, Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe includes the following businesses:
1. Cassava FinTech:
– EcoCash (mobile money services)
– Steward Digital Bank
– International Remittances
– Payment services (TPS, PayBay and Payment Gateway) These are “B2B” companies.
2. Cassava InsurTech:
– EcoSure Funeral Insurance
– Moovah Auto Insurance (one of the largest vehicle insurance company in the country now!)
– Health insurance (This has been partially launched through the Hospital Cash Back Service)
– Education insurance!
I’m very excited about our new #Educationproduct which will be available in January. The concept is simple: If a family loses a breadwinner, we will pick up the cost of educating children until they finish high school (secondary school).
3. Cassava On Demand Services (formerly Cumii Technologies):
– Technites and Tasknites App (Technites is the single largest creator of employment in Zimbabwe)
– Vaya Ride App (our own Uber-type ride hailing service, just launched last week!)
– KariGo App (transport services ranging from van deliveries to large cargo deliveries. It will be launched soon in Zimbabwe, currently in Nigeria only).
4. Cassava eCommerce:
– Ownai Online Market Place (a free online classified service soon to be relaunched with an upgraded platform)
– Cassava E-store
– Cassava store fronts.
5. Cassava HealthTech (formerly called EcoHealth):
– Maisha Medik includes: Maisha Medik Symptom Checker, Maisha Medik Health Tips, Maisha Medik Dial-a-Doc, and Maisha Medik Tele-Health.
6. Cassava EduTech:
– Ruzivo online learning
– Akello eBooks
– Muzinda Hub (coding school)
7. Cassava AgriTech:
– EcoFarmer includes: Information Services, Financial Services, Technical Support Services, Communication Services and the Ecofarmer Trading Platform! A few weeks ago, I wrote here about all the benefits Zimbabwean smallholder farmers get with their EcoFarmer club card.
Yes! This is a lot of companies! Now let me share some secrets that few people know, except those paid to track what we do (market analysts):
# Last year this little business (CSZ) generated revenue of over US$250m in Zimbabwe.
# Every year it doubles in size.
# It is the single largest employment creator in Zimbabwe… about 1,000 directly and 100,000 indirectly.
# It touches the lives of more people than any other business in the country.
# Our insurance arm, EcoSure, is the largest insurance company in the country in terms of policies.
# Our digital bank, Steward Bank, has more than 800,000 customers.
# 80% of Zimbabwe’s 1.5m smallholder farmers use EcoFarmer.
# 1m kids access educational support through Ruzivo (online learning). Teachers use the platform, too!
# One of my daughters (who now sits on the CSZ board) developed the education platform as a master’s thesis whilst studying in the US!
For many people, CSZ is a “hidden” company because they see everything it does as “Econet, the mobile company.” The fact is, our digital product and services business has operated independently from the telecoms company for years, with its own head office and board of directors.
Senior Class, what do you see? Let’s continue the conversation we started last week:
__Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe does not need money. It has money! So why list it?
I will answer in Part 3 of the series but see if you can figure it out.
Every industrial revolution needs a learning revolution, too!
To be continued. . .