Wednesday, 13 March 2019


ZIMBABWE is determined to catch up with other countries through developing modern infrastructure, modern methods of doing business and embracing technology in its quest to transform the economy, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

Speaking at the commissioning of the Tel-One $23,6 million national backbone fibre link in Beitbridge, President Mnangagwa said Government, under the Second Republic, was committed to connecting the nation to the rest of the world.

The multi-million dollar National Broadband project whose main project contractor was Chinese technology firm Huawei, has seen the network upgrade of the backbone fibre link which runs from Harare to Beitbridge and from Bulawayo to Beitbridge to establish a new backbone fibre link with South Africa and other SADC countries. 

The project was implemented through a loan facility from China Exim Bank.  The backbone fibre link has resulted in a 40 percent cut in internet bandwidth landing costs.

“Our infrastructure has for too long lagged behind but we’re determined to catch up with those that have progressed ahead of us. The completion of this project is timely and is a significant step for the new Zimbabwe. Such an investment has a transformative impact in our quest for economic growth, modernisation and industrialisation of the economy. It will further improve economic efficiency and productivity,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said the initiative was a testimony of Government’s commitment to building modern infrastructure that will give the people of Zimbabwe the best opportunities to succeed in the modern world. 

The President said the milestone accomplishment will efficiently connect Zimbabwe to the rest of the world.

“It will further ensure a more inclusive society, where our people can benefit from the immense growth opportunities that are abound across all sectors,” said President Mnangagwa.

In the Second Republic, he added, proximity to major cities need to be a prerequisite for economic success.

“All Zimbabweans should have access to the vital tools of development, with internet capability facilities. In addition, the middle income economy status we envision, will be accelerated as a result of the digital socio economic impact that cuts across financial services, health, retail, agriculture, mining, tourism and Government,” said President Mnangagwa.

“We must move out of our comfort zones and put aside archaic methods of how we’ve always done things, and instead ask how we can do things better. By embracing technology and connectivity we’re embracing the future and giving our people the best opportunities to thrive in the modern economy.”

The President commended Tel-One for the job well done, saying he was proud  that the establishment of the fibre links   had completed the connectivity of  Zimbabwe with neighbouring countries specifically South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia. 

“The link will also provide transit services that enable SADC members to be connecting to the whole world through a robust fibre network.

“I’m particularly impressed that this infrastructure is one of the most reliable routes in the Southern Africa region,” said President Mnangagwa.

Information Communication Technology and Courier Services Minister Kazembe Kazembe said his ministry was cognisant of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) target of broadening adoption and utilisation of e-Government.

He said the use of e-Government across Ministries, departments, local authorities and state owned enterprises in the provision of public services helps to fight corruption.

“I’m pleased to advise that the commissioning of this route has enabled the landing of internet bandwidth into Zimbabwe at significantly lower costs and reducing prices by up to 40 percent.

“This initiative dovetails well with the President’s mantra which says ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’. This kind of investment will result in increased interest of regional and global telecommunication firms in setting up projects across the country,” said Minister Kazembe Kazembe.

He said investors across sectors will realise better returns due to affordable bandwidth.

“This will drive investor confidence and the growth of the Zimbabwean economy. The ICT sector on its own has the potential to create employment opportunities, generate more revenue and boost economic growth opportunities,” said Minister Kazembe Kazembe. 

China’s acting Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Zhao Baogang expressed gratitude to the China Exim Bank for financing the project. 

“The optic fibre connection to the outside world is critical to Zimbabwe’s growth as it reduces the cost of internet services. It will definitely upgrade the status of Zimbabwe, which has in the past years achieved a lot,” said Mr Baogang.

He said despite the challenges the country is facing, the people of Zimbabwe should strive to be united.

“China will always be there for Zimbabwe to support its efforts of national development,” said Mr Baogang.

TelOne managing director, Mrs Chipo Mtasa, commended the Government for its support in the implementation of the project. 

The commissioning of the fibre link was also attended by Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Minister Abednico Ncube, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Amon Murwira, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Mangaliso Ndlovu, Permanent Secretaries from different ministries TelOne board of directors, officials from Potraz and other telecommunication operators, as well as Zanu-PF officials, traditional leaders , business community and the Beitbridge community.

President Mnangagwa, VP Mohadi, Minister Kazembe Kazembe planted trees during the event.

As part of its corporate responsibility, TelOne donated exercise books and sanitary wear worth $40 000 to children from four schools in Beitbridge. Chronicle


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