NetOne, the state-owned mobile operator has begun negotiations with South African telecom operator Telkom to form a new joint venture in Zimbabwe. NetOne is among the 35 state-owned enterprises that the government has decided to privatize to raise funds to strengthen the state’s finances and finance its Transition Stabilization Program (TSP).
Zimbabwe’s treasury is extending the sale of government assets to raise money needed to fix infrastructure such as roads and hospitals that have fallen into disrepair. NetOne is one of at least 35 companies designated by the state to be offered to private investors.
Telkom declined to comment on whether it is in talks. The company evaluates business opportunities “in line with our ambition to invest for growth and generate returns”, it said.
On the other hand, the Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said that beyond mobilization of finances, the privatization of NetOne, like that of its parent company TelOne, was strategic for the national telecom market. It would give pride of place to the “best investors who bring the appropriate technology”.