Senior Business Reporter
THE country’s largest telecommunications firm, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, believes that the country will conquer the immediate economic setbacks and attain a brighter future.
Group chairman, Dr James Myers, in a statement accompanying the full year results for the period ended February 28, 2019 issued on Monday, said his organisation was aggressively developing its business with a strong belief in Zimbabwe and its future prospects.
“We believe in a brighter future for Zimbabwe and will continue to strive for an inclusive and connected future that leaves no Zimbabwean behind,” he said.
“We believe in the strong future of the country and will continue to develop our business with a strong belief in Zimbabwe and its prospects.
“Econet continues to pursue data revenue growth initiatives in response to the increased use of internet services driven in part by the growth in adoption of smart phones by our customers, as the price of these devices continues to fall.”
During the period under review, Econet revenue increased to $1,1 billion compared to $832 million for the year ended February 28, 2018.
Dr Myers said there was a strong demand for all of their products and services, adding that their business model has been tested in difficult operating conditions and remains on solid footing to guarantee Econet’s success.
It is hoped that the listed telecommunication company will continue to collaborate with its smart technology businesses, Cassava SmarTech, for separate value creation objectives.
Throughout the year under review, Dr Myers said, Econet has implemented specific programmes to assist staff in addressing the challenges faced due to the prevailing economic conditions. He said strategic partnerships with key vendors remain a priority for the business.
During the period under review, Econet’s capital investment in infrastructure development was subdued due to limited access to foreign currency.
“This has a negative impact on our ability to sustain a comprehensive service offering as we transition to a digital economy. Investment in renewable energy remains a key focus area for long term cost containment and business sustainability.
“A total of 116 solar powered sites were commissioned, thereby reducing generator runtime, fuel consumption and the related carbon dioxide emissions,” said the group.
“Our solar journey, housed under Distributed Power Africa (DPA), gained momentum during the year.”
DPA operates as an independent entity and is rolling out solar projects totalling seven megawatts of which 3MW have already been commissioned.
“This is a tremendous achievement given the macro-economic challenges prevailing in the country. The board is excited about this opportunity and the prospects of further reductions in energy costs and the increased availability of uninterrupted green power to our base station sites and other operating infrastructure.
“It is our hope that DPA, which requires foreign currency in order to import solar panels and associated infrastructure, will be able to sustain its growth model in the current environment,” said Dr Myers.
He said the group’s wide digital transformation journey continues and will see Econet deploying technology that will accelerate growth and improve customer experience.
Key focus areas include business automation, sustainability, data analytics, cyber security, systems optimisation and systems consolidation. Meanwhile, Econet has paid a dividend amounting to RTGS$50 million for the year ended February 28, 2019.
Dr Myers said cognisant of the recent statutory instruments that resulted in a change in functional currency and its consequent impact on the company’s capitalisation plans, the board has decided not to declare a fourth quarter dividend.