Telecel indigenisation forges ahead

HARARE – Investment group Empowerment Corporation (Private) Limited (EC) is to increase its shareholding in Telecel Zimbabwe (Telecel), as the mobile group moves to fulfil its licensing obligations, businessdaily can reveal.

This also comes as Harare businessman and President Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao has been appointed EC managing director and Telecel’s parent has announced plans to sell its African assets, including Zimbabwe.

“My mandate is to specifically ensure that Telecel complies not only with licensing regulations, but also with the indigenisation policy and law of the country,” Zhuwao told businessdaily yesterday.

A Telecel founding shareholder through his stint as Integrated Engineering Group MD and part of a technical team, which spearheaded the establishment of the mobile company, Zhuwao says he was hopeful of achieving a broad-based ownership of the Harare-based operator.

“Zimbabwe’s telecoms and ICT sectors have shown that the education provided in this country can actually result in the creation of significant and indigenous-owned business,” the former Science and Technology deputy minister said.

An economics and technology graduate, his appointment is with effect from July 1.

With Vimpelcom owning 60 percent of Telecel through Orascom Telecom (Orascom), the planned sale has given hope to the James Makamba-led consortium’s move to consolidate its shareholding in Telecel.

The development also comes as the Harare-based mobile operator had been under pressure to regularise its shareholding structure in line with the country’s indigenisation policy — compelling foreign firms to cede 51 percent of their stakes to locals.

Makamba announced a fortnight ago that discussions were underway to indigenise the local mobile operator.

And Zhuwao hinted that “the shareholder-to-shareholder talks” have since moved to the Zimbabwean capital.

At the time, Makamba said “all shareholders were in agreement that there is need to comply (with the laws of the land) and will do everything possible to meet the requirement” and “a lot was happening behind the scenes” to fulfil this new thrust.

As Zhuwao told businessdaily that his second mandate was to “co-ordinate other shareholders”, there is also a growing feeling that the sitting shareholders were preparing for the return of several founding shareholders, including farmers, small-scale miners and war veterans.

In his 10 years in the public and private sectors, the Harare businessman says “the exposure had opened him to the intricacies of policymaking such that as EC’s MD he could make Telecel a significant player in the market”.

About a week ago, businessdaily reported that Vimpelcom was in the final stages of concluding a deal to offload its Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR) and Zimbabwe assets.

Meanwhile, Makamba was on Saturday conferred with an honorary doctorate in business leadership from St Linus University at a function held at the prestigious Henley Business School in South Africa.

Comments (2)

indeginisation to the masses,and seems only those like zhuwawo,makamba and zanu pf will be empowered.what a shame from telecel to netone to bhora musango mentality of running business.

nyuchi - 4 July 2013

go ahead, tell someone

Soko Mukanya - 5 July 2013

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