Econet rolls out green tuck-shops

By Alfonce Mbizwo, Harare, Zimbabwe

Econet has launched its 'Green kiosks', a franchise which will see its vendors offer a wider range of the company’s products.

Econet chief executive Douglas Mboweni said the group had already started rolling out the units, which would soon eliminate illegal structures particularly in the high density areas.

To date 100 units had been deployed in Harare and outlying areas and the target would be to have 5 000 units by the end of February 2013.  About seven sites had been put up in Chitungwiza, a satellite city of Harare with a reported population of more than one million, which have the capacity to operate for the full 24 hrs.

The group was working with local authorities over site mapping, approval and vendor licencing.

“We will however pick sites that are convenient to use,” Mboweni said.

Mboweni would not disclose how much it cost to set up a single unit or the capital spend to date. All he said was that the units will be given to vendors for free.

He added that the company could only disclose the cost in three months because at the moment they did not have a fixed supplier for the units.   

Each unit is fully insulated with 50mm thick walls to ensure that the inside remain cool. It also has secure 14 compartment recharge station each with its own door and token for security purposes "but also to keep dust off the customers’ handsets.”

The charging compartments can charge up to 14 cellphones.

The vendors who will have the units will do all the transactions that support the company. They will offer transactions such as airtime, Ecocash, solar products and free phone recharges.  

“Increased product range means increased business volumes,” he said. 

Mboweni said that Econet will continue leading through innovation and they had a number of solar initiatives in the pipeline including the home power station, which he said would operate off the network through GPRS.

“This is a moving process as we will continue to look at what else we can bring under the umbrella," he said.

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