At the end of last week, Zimbabwe’s telecommunications regulatory authority, POTRAZ, issued an invitation to tender in local the press for the design and installation of Passive Telecommunication (mainly towers) infrastructure in some rural areas of the country.
According to the tender description the work is required under a project called Connecting Rural Communities, itself part of the Universal Service Fund (USF) projects.
Zimbabwe’s USF is a fund administered by POTRAZ to (amoung other things) promote development of telecommunications services in un-served and under-served areas throughout the country. The fund was setup under Zimbabwe’s Postal and Telecommunications Act enacted in 2000.
The USF sources most of its funds from contributions by Zim telecom operators (2% of gross turnover) and surplus income at the end of POTRAZ’s financial year. According to the Mid Year Fiscal Policy Review presented by Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance in July last year, POTRAZ had a total of US $21,021,228 available under the USF.
Since its setup, the fund did not contribute to any significant implementations of telecoms projects in needy areas, chiefly because of the political and economic situation that prevailed in the country. However the dollarisation of the economy and the rapid expansion of the telecommunications sector in the past 2 years has resulted in more meaningful contributions from telecoms operators.
We’ve written to POTRAZ to get some details about the project and we’ll post the information here once we get a response.
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