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Zambia tower construction project hits snag

Zambia tower construction project hits snag.

The Zambian government has failed to secure US$272 million required for the construction of 469 communication towers, a project managed by the state-owned Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel).

A source within the Ministry of Communications and Transport said the Chinese government is unwilling to fund the project, following its financial support of a similar and recent project that resulted in the construction of over 200 towers in all 10 provinces of the country by Huawei Technologies.

However, Deputy Minister of Communications and Transport James Kapyanga has denied this. "This project will be financed by a concessional loan and we are at a stage where we are still negotiating for the concessional loan. It's not that the government has failed to secure the money or that the Chinese government has refused to fund the project," he said.

Authorities also clarified Zamtel's involvement, saying that allowing the tower infrastructure to be owned and managed by the telco would strengthen its market position and expand its reach, particularly to rural areas and improve its ability to compete in the market.

Currently, Zamtel is Zambia's smallest operator with less than 2 million customers, while MTN is the country's largest operator followed by Airtel.

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