Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

DIDG eyes State-owned telecom company

By Oliver Kazunga

The Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG) is looking at the possibility of investing in State-owned telecommunications company, NetOne. DIDG executive chairman Mr Donovan Chimhandamba said this in an interview in Bulawayo after the delivery of leased equipment to the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) under a $400 million recapitalisation deal.

DIDG chairperson Donovan Chimhandamba flanked by DIDG Chief Finance Officer Washington Mashanda and cross border strategy general manager Petrus Fusi addresses journalists during press conference held at a local hotel in Bulawayo.

The newly acquired equipment is part of an agreement between NRZ and DIDG/Transnet under an interim arrangement meant to capacitate the country’s railways firm while modalities to finalise the $400 million package are being worked out.

Last year, DIDG and its partner, South Africa’s logistics company, Transnet, won the NRZ $400 million recapitalisation initiative where the Diaspora group will offer financial support while Transnet is expected to provide technical expertise during the rehabilitation programme.

“We continue to assess the situation at NetOne. We have expressed our interest before and the plans and we continue to monitor that.

“We will be approaching the relevant authorities (Government) at the right time once we have consolidated structures and proposals,” he said.

Mr Chimhandamba is on record as saying Zimbabweans in the Diaspora were ready to channel more investment back home as a tribute to the Government for the affordable and quality educational support they received before going abroad.He said Zimbabweans in the Diaspora were excited about the new political dispensation and thus their willingness to be part of a national development process.

DIDG, which has a membership of over 1 500 mainly based in South Africa, Namibia, Australia, United Kingdom, Botswana, Zambia and the United States of America, has a strategic investment focus in transport, Information Communication Technology, agriculture, water, mining, engineering and construction and mineral beneficiation.

Asked whether the group also has plans of investing in Air Zimbabwe taking cognisance of its strategic importance to the national economy, Mr Chimhandamba said:

“We haven’t spoken to Government about Air Zimbabwe. We have our own plans that we have scheduled; purely from a practical point of view to not end up looking as if we are trying to delve into everything while we haven’t delivered the first project that we have been given.

“We have ideas around airports management. But where we have fully finalised and put some proposals is around water.”

He said DIDG has some technical capacities and financial resources that are very interesting and earmarked for water and the telecommunications sectors.

“In Zimbabwe, the water management system needs to be improved and if we are able to improve it, we will be able to provide high quality water.” he said. The Chronicle