VENTURES AFRICA – Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa’s ECONET Wireless Group (EWG) has sealed a $362 million loan, most of which has been earmarked for the company’s Zimbabwe subsidiary.
EWG founder and chairman, Strive Masiyiwa, signed the deal with representatives of the various syndicated financial institutions in London on Wednesday. The loan facility was arranged by AfriEximbank, and syndicated to development and financial institutions from Germany, France, China, the Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden.
In a statement, the company said $307 million has been earmarked for Econet Wireless Zimbabwe to fund exapansion and network infrastructure development.
Chief executive of the Zimbabwe business, Douglas Mboweni said $255 million from the facility would re-finance existing short-term facilities, while $52 million would be used to finance equipment purchases for further expansion.
Mboweni also added that borrowing for its expansion projects remained possible only through Econet Zimbabwe’s parent company.
Presently, EWG’s Zimbabwean operation commands 70 percent of the local mobile phone market.
In its recently announced full-year results, the telecom giant posted after tax profits of $167 million.
Zimbabwean telecommunications magnate, Strive Masiyiwa, who is also a born-again Christian, is the Founder and chairman of the Econet group. His telecommunications company has a strong presence across Africa, with interests and operations in Botswana, Burundi, Lesotho, Nigeria and South Africa as well as the New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Masiyiwa, a pioneering telecom investor, is also listed as one of the richest men in Africa.