CHAIRPERSON’S STATEMENT (excerpts)
A new beginning
I am delighted to present the inaugural financial results of Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe Limited’s (“CSZL” or “the Group”) for the 4 months ended 28 February 2019. CSZL owes its existence to the dedication and leadership of the Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (“EWZL”) Group, board and management, and the unwavering support of our shareholders and customers.
The phenomenal growth of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe since 1999, the introduction of EcoCash in 2011, the acquisition of the Digital Bank in 2012 and the subsequent launch of the Insurtech business, culminated in the decision by the EWZL board to recommend the demerger of CSZL from EWZL.
Following the approval by EWZL shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting on 22 November 2018, the Smart Technology (Smartech) business within EWZL was demerged, giving birth to Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe Limited.
CSZL was listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange on 18 December 2018 and made history as the first standalone listed fintech company in Africa and the most valuable listing by introduction on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. Our mandate is to develop digital solutions that drive socio-economic development, and improve the overall quality of life for all Zimbabweans.
For the period under review, 9.8 million individuals were using our mobile money platform to transact, representing almost 90% of Zimbabwe’s adult population, while Steward Bank now boasts 1.3 million bank accounts, representing 37% of Zimbabwe’s banked population. In addition, 2.6 million individuals subscribe to our micro-insurance packages. The Group is focused on driving the financial inclusion agenda and increasing access to financial services especially among previously excluded segments.
Our promises to our stakeholders are “Doing well by doing good” and “Serving where the need is greatest”. We strive to differentiate ourselves through our relentless innovative culture and constantly tapping into new opportunities to address everyday challenges through innovative, inclusive, stable and reliable digital solutions. We are grateful to our customers and channel partners who have embraced our platforms and services. To date we have processed more than ZWL$78.4 billion in value since the introduction of our flagship product, EcoCash. This is one demonstration of the extent to which our technology solutions are making the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans easier.
CSZL continues to develop broad based, diversified sources of income in mobile money, transactional banking, Insurtech, Healthtech, On-Demand Services and Agritech which provide a solid base for sustainable, long-term growth of our business.
Cautionary statement – reliance on financial statements prepared in Zimbabwe for 2018/2019
The audit report to these results has been modified by the independent auditors, Deloitte & Touche, in line with the guidance issued on all regulated Auditors in Zimbabwe by the Public Accountants and Auditors Board in respect of noncompliance with the requirements of IAS 21 – The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates. The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) issued a statement on the modified opinions for listed entities reporting in Zimbabwe for the similar period that the Company is currently reporting. The statement notes that: “…it was not the Listed Companies’ volition not to comply with International Financial Report Standards but rather a matter of complying with the obtaining laws of the Country as prescribed by SI 33 of 2019.” The Directors thus elected to comply with SI33 of 2019 and not the respective accounting standard regulating the same.
Given the disparity between the requirements of the local legislation and the International Financial Report Standards regarding the way the change in functional currency should be accounted for, and taking into account the significant differences in the resultant underlying figures coming from the adoption of the two different methods, the Board has specifically not commented on the financial performance and position of the business. The Directors would like to advise users to exercise caution in their use of these financial statements due to the material and pervasive impact of the changes brought about by the change in functional currency and its consequent impact on the usefulness of financial statements of companies reporting in Zimbabwe.
Future Prospects – Technology Driven Services
CSZL is a smartech-driven business, committed to continued investment in technology platforms that enhance transactional capacity, ensures convenient usage and improves customer experience. As such, it relies heavily on its digital platforms which provide much needed services to millions of Zimbabweans. With our integrated business model that is strongly centred on high technology platforms and data analytics, this has resulted in significantly lower customer acquisition, retention and communication costs.
We will continue to deploy solutions that are available through multiple channels. The business is on a drive to scale-up and leverage on artificial intelligence and machine learning, big data, block-chain, chatbots and social media banking and payments to reduce operational costs and improve customer experience. Customer convenience is the backbone of our success. Reflecting on this, research and development is a key component of our strategy, as we continuously innovate around providing total solutions to our customers. We believe there are opportunities for growth, in spite of the current macro-economic challenges and will, therefore, continue to make a concerted effort to turn these challenges into success stories.
Cognisant of the prevailing macro-economic fundamentals and the Group’s capital expenditure requirements, the Board has decided not to declare a dividend for the four months ended 28 February 2019.
N.B.: The above are excerpts from the Chairperson’s Statement. For full details, download the full results below: