ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s second largest mobile network operator by subscriber base, NetOne, has partnered Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) to promote game changing innovations through research and development.

The mobile company’s chief executive officer, Lazarus Muchenje, said this partnership will unlock opportunities for both entities as it has the potential to commercialise and monetise the innovative ideas the teams will generate.

This partnership resonates with NetOne’s vision to offer seamless communication delivered with an edge, buttressed by HIT’s mission to transform lives and develop communities through communication solutions.

“Also, technology has undoubtedly changed the way businesses interact with consumers and continues to evolve. As such, innovation is a key element that will drive greater efficiency, unique products and services and offer added convenience to our subscribers,” said Mr Muchenje.

Mr Muchenje said the partnership fits perfectly within “one of our” key CSI pillars, One Empowerment, which focuses on Entrepreneurial Development and Business Incubation.

“This pillar is premised on SDG 8, Descent Work and Economic Growth and SDG 9, which is Innovation, Industry, Infrastructure and is skewed towards the emancipation of youths and women to ensure they are actively involved in financial inclusion, attain financial freedom and total financial independence.”

“We are cognisant of the fact that young minds are very creative and rich in idea generation. NetOne will, through its mobile money platform, OneMoney, incorporate its subscribers into the ZUPCO tap card payment system,” he said.

The tap card payment system, an electronic ticketing innovation from the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT), was introduced on all ZUPCO buses in May this year to mitigate cash challenges commuters were facing and is currently limited to Ecocash and bank card platforms.

HIT Technology, Transfer Licensing and Commercialisation Centre director, Eng Talon Garikayi said the two entities were currently working on the inclusion of the OneMoney payment platform on the Zupco buses payment system.

“On the ground we are currently working with NetOne to bring the OneMoney mobile platform on the mass bus transport system for the payment of ZUPCO buses so that when you have got OneMoney, you can pay and get into the bus,” Eng Garikai said.

Prior to this, HIT and NetOne had been working together on various projects including the installation of the tracking system on ZUPCO buses where NetOne is providing connectivity through its fast 4G internet service while HIT developed and maintains the software system.

The addition of OneMoney comes as relief to NetOne subscribers who were facing challenges in accessing cash to meet transport costs at a time cash liquidity remains dire in the economy.