The vision behind Cassava Smartech is to create a technology company similar to China’s Tencent, according to Cassava Group CEO, Mr Darlington Mandivenga.
Tencent, one of the largest companies in the world, is a corporate behemoth with a market capitalization, at its peak, of over US$700 billion.
Speaking on the sidelines of an investors’ forum in Harare, Mr Mandivenga said Cassava Smartech – which plans to list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange shortly – was not trying to emulate M-PESA of Kenya.
“M-PESA was our model when we were developing EcoCash, our mobile money service, but we have since moved on from there,” he said.
“Our model now includes so many more services that M-PESA does not offer. Today our approach is that of Tencent; we are more than just EcoCash,” he said, adding that they were leveraging their platform to include solutions for every aspect of people’s lives.
Mr Mandivenga said an example was ‘Cassava On Demand’, which has developed transport and logistics services such as Vaya and Technites.
The entire Cassava Smartech business includes multisectoral portfolios in the areas of fintech, funeral and vehicle insurance, education, health, farming and e-commerce, among many other businesses that leverage technology.
Mr Mandivenga said Cassava was now the largest private creator of jobs in the economy.
“We have created employment for more than 45 000 EcoCash agents, 5 000 Technites and close to 10 000 Vaya drivers. That is 60 000 jobs, and we continue to create more on a daily basis. This is how jobs and livelihood opportunities are created,” Mr Mandivenga said.
Cassava Smartech plans to list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange following its unbundling from Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited and following the publication of a detailed circular outlining the demerger plans.