Poor international image derails privatisation drive

2 Dec 2003

Plans to re-launch a tender for a 30% stake in Zimbabwean fixed line service provider TelOne and cellular network operator NetOne have been postponed as a result of the country’s perceived high risk potential with international investors. According to Andrew Bvumbe of the Privatisation Authority of Zimbabwe, the country is no longer looking for new bidders as ‘the environment is just not right at the moment’. He conceded that a deteriorating international perception of Zimbabwe made it unlikely that anyone would be interested in the two operators. The Authority had previously short-listed four bidding groups for the stake: DeTeCon, a joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and two German banks; Mauritius Telecom and Mobile Systems International of the Netherlands; Megatel, a consortium led by the ABCH Bank; and local firm Jedistein. However, the three international bidders withdrew after losing faith with the regulatory authorities, and Jedistein failed to provide the risk cover needed by their creditors and so also withdrew.

Zimbabwe, NetOne, TelOne