Economic Update: 20 March 2018
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Internet penetration still low – Zimbabwe’s internet penetration rate for 2017 increased by a marginal 0, 8 percent to 50, 8 percent from 50 percent in 2016, according to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ)’s 2017 annual report, This is despite the country having a teledensity rate of over 100 percent. Teledensity basically measures the number of active mobile phone SIM cards and land-lines, which usually has a significant correlation to the internet usage. (Business Weekly)
Comment – Today the internet is the great mediator of our business. While there have been other changes to broadband packages offered by some internet providers like the reductions from operators like Aptics, Powertel, Telco and TelOne, the cost of internet access is still prohibitive. The majority of internet connections (at least 85%) are made via mobile devices through the country’s three mobile network operators with most subscribers relying on bundles that cost as much as $3 a month to access specific applications like Facebook and WhatsApp. In South Africa (MTN) 1GB of data costs about $5.83, in Nigeria (Airtel) it costs about $1.85 while in Zimbabwe 1GB costs more than $10/week and $30/month. This entails more has to be done to make internet access more affordable in this country.
Hwange extension comes to fruition – China Export and Import Bank (China EximBank) will next month avail the first draw-down of the $1.1 billion funding required to kick-start work on Hwange Thermal Power Station extension project. The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) said in a statement that all the conditions precedent for the first draw-down for the expansion project on units 7 and 8 have been met. The two units are expected to add 600 megawatts with each producing 300MW, a development that will see Hwange Power Station installed capacity rising to 1 520MW from 920MW. (Herald)
Tobacco farmers want forex – Tobacco farmers are appealing to Government to be paid part of their money in foreign currency arguing that the crop they produce brings in significant forex into the country. Tobacco farmers raised concern that they were being paid 100 percent of their money in local currency when they required foreign currency to buy machinery or other spare parts of their machinery. The farmers complained that gold producers were being given 70 percent of their money in foreign currency while tobacco farmers were nowhere nearer the Central Banks’s priority list for foreign currency. (Business Weekly)
Nedbank seeks to fund private sector – Nedbank Zimbabwe, a unit of South Africa’s Nedbank Group, says it will be at the forefront of securing lines of credit for private sector funding as the financial institution seeks to play a leading role in the country’s economic development. The financial institution, formerly MBCA Bank, seeks to become one of the top tier banks in the country and this will be driven by its quest to fund the private sector and the emerging small to medium enterprises sector. (Herald)
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange Performance
The Industrial Index was up 0.02% to 288.55 points on the back of a 1.06% gain in PPCLimited which was offset a 0.06% decline in OK Zimbabwe. The Mining Index remained unchanged to close at 122.73 points. The All Share Index was up 0.02% to close at 86.22.
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