ZIMBABWE’S leading cellular mobile company, Econet Wireless has secured a $60 million (about R444 million) loan from the Swedish export credit agency (EKN) to upgrade its network.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s chief executive officer, Douglas Mboweni, said the $60 million facility was the largest ever that a European bank has approved for a Zimbabwean company since the country’s political crisis began more than 10 years ago.
Mboweni said the funds would be deployed to strengthen Econet’s network in Harare, home to its largest customer base.
“Econet is currently expanding its network capacity around the country, including its 3-G service,” said Mboweni.
He said he was naturally excited about the loan, and hailed the opening up of credit for Zimbabwean companies, and thanked the Swedish government for their support.
Mboweni also thanked Swedish giant equipment supplier Ericsson for their support and the Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa, who had made a personal guarantee for all shareholders.
“Our customers in Harare are increasingly buying phones, which require more capacity and capability on the network,” said Mboweni.
Until now, the company has only been able to secure loans from China and the Egyptian-based African Export Import Bank.
MERCY MUJURU, Harare