Zimbabwe Clamps Down on Mobile Money in New Currency Directive

HARARE (Bloomberg) — Zimbabwe’s central bank has clamped down on mobile money, banning the purchase and sale of cash through the services, in the latest directive aimed at gaining control of a monetary system that’s spiraling out of control.

The directive, which the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said was necessary because of commissions charged by agents, follows a Sept. 28 announcement enforcing the use of the Zimbabwe dollar and banning the quoting of prices in foreign currency.

Ecocash, a mobile-money service operated by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Ltd., has 6.7 million active users in a nation of about 14 million people. It’s the first time since its introduction in 2011 that its users haven’t been able to use the so-called cash-back service.

Since the Zimbabwe dollar was reintroduced in June its value has plunged to 15.19 to the U.S. dollar from an initial rate of 2.5.

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