Zimbabwe's $300m telecom industry capex for 2016


The Zimbabwean government plans to fork out approximately $300 million in capital investment into the country's telecommunications sector, where it now has established a significant interest following its buy-out of VimpelCom's 60% stake in Telecel Zimbabwe.

The government's interests in the sector now encompass two mobile operators, Telecel and NetOne, as well as fixed phone operator, TelOne and internet services provider, Powertel, among others.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Thursday that communications was among only a few sectors - including tourism and construction - that had registered growth in 2015.

The government is now seeking to invest further in the industry to enhance its growth. "An amount of US$299.2 million will be invested in the sector in 2016, drawing largely from loan financing and public entities' own resources, targeted at expansion and upgrading projects," said Chinamasa.

NetOne, which is carrying out an ambitious network expansion project has drawn down $118 million, with $52.4 million having been disbursed by end of September. Network equipment worth $98.3 million has been delivered and installed across the country, according to officials.

In 2016, Chinamasa said, it is expected that a further $75.5 million will be disbursed towards upgrade of the mobile network operator's network.

The government will also seek to set-up and commission more data centres, complete the "mile connectivity" and establish community information centres and extension roll out the of e-government platform.