It has been reported that Econet Wireless Global has secured a $150 million financing facility to enable its expansion program.
In an announcement from Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) the institution that arranged the facility Econet will use the facility to expand in mobile banking and solar energy and also to refinance existing debt which has been assumed for network infrastructure projects.
A number of global financial institutions, including European development institutions and the Southern African Trade and Development Bank where syndicated in the deal. Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe was also part of the arrangement.
This facility comes after Econet Zimbabwe’s annual general meeting last week where the CEO, Douglas Mboweni pointed out how the company’s focus would be on consolidation of revenue from non voice related products and services.
Part of that drive is centred on EcoCash, the operator’s largely successful mobile money platform. It will be paired with a greater focus on broadband services, something that should help prepare the network for a broadband centred era in telecoms.
In Zimbabwe the network has managed to remain profitable despite the slump in voice revenue as well as the tough economic environment that has resulted in a lesser focus on price reductions and more on product value and quality.
Econet’s solar energy effort, also highlighted as a beneficiary of this loan facility, is housed under its Econet Solar banner. This clean and renewable energy initiative has resulted in the distribution of solar powered lamps that company founder Strive Masiyiwa is pairing with a drive for education.
His vision is to provide solar lamps to enable millions of children to learn at home in cases where the availability of electricity is a challenge. This is part of a broader agenda to encourage widespread education in Africa.