Econet launches 'Green Kiosk'

HARARE - Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (Econet) – Zimbabwe’s largest mobile service provider – yesterday unveiled a solar powered environmentally friendly kiosk, as part of its ‘green’ campaign.

The campaign is focused on investing in alternative energy sources, raising environmental awareness and alleviating the crippling impact of worsening power cuts on service.

The Green Kiosk - the first of its kind - is a “tuck shop” version of the company’s bigger city Econet shops.

The kiosks will be operated by independent individuals from the community, on rental from Econet for a fee.

Douglas Mboweni, Econet chief executive, said the company planned to introduce more products that were relevant to society.

“We are living in a society where there could be scarcity of resources and innovation allows us to be more efficient and useful. With this innovation we are harnessing light from the sun and create employment and business opportunities for the Small to Medium Enterprises,” Mboweni said.

Econet has already deployed 100 units of the ‘green kiosks’ in Harare and outlying areas with a minimum of 5 000 units to be rolled out by February next year.

Apart from being a convenient distribution outlet for Econet’s mobile money transfer service and voice airtime, the kiosks are part of efforts to fill the energy gap, as Zimbabwe struggles to meet power demand.

The kiosks allow up to 14 mobile phones to be charged concurrently for free using solar energy.

The Econet boss said the idea to come up with the green kiosk was prompted by the upsurge of unsafe and unsecure working areas for vendors in cities.

“These challenges are stepping stones to do greater things. In line with our vision to provide telecommunications to all the people in Zimbabwe, we have decided to provide people residing in rural areas with the opportunity to be connected,” he said.

In 2011, Econet began investing in alternative energies that saw solar-powered base stations being built.

It has also been providing new eco-friendly products.

Among the new products unveiled were solar-powered lamps, which are proving to be popular amid worsening power cuts.

It also supplies a range of solar powered handsets and chargers.

Mboweni said the mobile company awaited various city councils for site approval and vendor licensing before it started a large scale roll out of the kiosks.

Officially opening the Green Kiosks Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said Econet is one of the few companies in the city that are working with the city council in getting Harare to regain its sunshine status.

“By launching this eco-friendly kiosk, Econet is not at risk of incurring the wrath of the green revolution members. The kiosk is a testimony of how proactive Econet has been in keeping the environment clean," he said.

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