NetOne sale to be flagship of privatisation programme, government hopes

28 Apr 2009

The Zimbabwean government’s plan to sell mobile network operator NetOne to foreign investors is generating ‘huge interest’, the company’s CEO claimed in an interview with AFP. Reward Kangai told the news service that the unnamed interested parties were already present in several African countries. Kangai said that NetOne, the second largest of three GSM operators, was valued at USD500 million three years ago, adding that a new investor’s capital requirements would be USD200 million; he also promised that there would be complete transparency in any sale. To make the operating environment easier for new entrants, the CEO said that the government is considering reducing equipment taxes for telecoms companies – currently as high as 60%. The planned privatisation forms part of a wider effort to sell state assets in the oil and infrastructure sectors to raise desperately needed funds for an economy crippled by hyperinflation. The unity government, which took office in February, says it needs at least USD8.5 billion over three years to resurrect the economy. Kangai was optimistic about future investment prospects, saying: ‘Zimbabwe is open for business, investors will be able to start operations here at low cost.’

Zimbabwe, NetOne