Tech firm expands in Matabeleland region Utande Chief Commercial officer Lorraine Chakuchichi Nyahwa

Nqobile Bhebhe, [email protected]

TECHNOLOGY solutions provider, Dandemutande Investments Private Limited, is expanding its connectivity infrastructure to the Matabeleland region while tapping into the wider national and regional market through investments in fibre-optic projects and offering innovative solutions to accelerate the modernisation of business operations. 

Part of its ambitious expansion projects involves an investment of nearly US$8 million, targeting local and regional businesses.

Dandemutande recently announced the construction of an 891km long-haul fibre optic backbone along the Beitbridge-Harare railway network and has partnered with Fiber Connections, a subsidiary of Bandwidth and Cloud Services Group (BCS Group), for this initiative.

President Mnangagwa inaugurated the second phase of the national rail fibre-optic project in March in Somabhula near Gweru, which aims to establish Zimbabwe as a hub for internet services in Africa.

The project will enhance connectivity within Africa, promote broadband services and potentially influence data prices.

With operations in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and Beitbridge, the company has set in motion plans to expand to Hwange and Victoria Falls as well as Masvingo by the end of the year. Bulawayo, the region’s nerve centre for manufacturing, financial services, and mining, is under increased investment focus given the spike in demand for technology solutions along the industrial value.

Regionally, the company has substantial operations in South Africa and Botswana and is incorporated in Malawi and Zambia with focus now on reaching Namibia where it is set to open a branch in the next two months.

The national fibre backbone plays a crucial role in a country’s internet infrastructure, providing fast and reliable connectivity nationwide.

Vibrant connectivity enables seamless internet access, data transfer and communication for individuals, businesses and Government entities, fostering economic growth, innovation, and social development by supporting technologies like cloud computing, big data analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI).

During an interactive breakfast meeting in Bulawayo yesterday the company’s chief operating officer, Mr Ignatius Mpando, said the company has allocated US$3 million for a metro infrastructure project.

The engagement provided an opportunity for Utande to highlight its milestones, introduce new products and outline planned infrastructure development projects to stakeholders from the academia, sports industry, and manufacturing sector.

“We have rolled out a fibre project, which is 861 kilometres along the Beitbridge Harare railway line and we have invested in excess of US$5 million. 

“We are also targeting to invest another US$3 million into metro infrastructure. This means that once our fibre is in Bulawayo, we have a plan to distribute it to reach our customers.

“By expanding our footprint we have improved connectivity options for our customers in these areas,” said Mr Mpando.

He also mentioned plans to finalise due diligence with a Namibian firm in the next two months where they plan to offer tailored solutions in recognition of the unique needs of each business.

“Within the next two months, we are looking forward to concluding our due diligence with a Namibian firm,” he told stakeholders. 

“The main reason why we believe in tailor-made solutions, is we understand that businesses are different. Our responsibility is to actively look into what is new in the market that can enable the business to expand.

“We try to come into our client’s business environments and understand how best we can infuse technology into the different areas of business so as to realise a substantial profit margin.” 

Chief commercial officer, Ms Lorraine Chakuchichi-Nyahwa said post-Covid-19, ITC offerings have been elevated and that the firms have taken a bold expansion stance locally and regionally.

She said the expansion project has various spin-off benefits that spread into the institutions of higher learning that focus on technology.

“We have taken a stance to say ‘this is an African business’, we are expanding in Africa and to date, we have operations in South Africa and Botswana and in the next month (July) we should open in Namibia,” said Ms Chakuchichi-Nyahwa

“We have been incorporated in Zambia and in Malawi, so we want to bring in the services and technology that we have to Africa. ICT has been elevated, especially after Covid-19 pandemic, every business needs connectivity and wants to connect remotely. 

“Why we are investing in infrastructure is that the data that is being generated over the Internet is now vast and needs to be connected. 

“At the moment, most companies do not have sufficient capex to invest in their machines. So, with our infrastructure, we already have the infrastructure to offer services.”

She added that Utande has working partnerships with various universities as a pool of its expertise from the younger generation that is technologically savvy. “We have institutions that are grooming a vast wealth of knowledgeable people for us to tap into.  

“We are working with institutions of higher learning through various Memoranda of Understanding, they have solutions that we can take up and commercialise,” Ms Chakuchichi-Nyahwa said.

She noted that demand for their various technological offerings was spreading in sectors such as in mining, finance and manufacturing, which need ICT hardware and data security.

She added that apart from having offices in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, and Kwekwe, by year-end, outlets would be opened in Beitbridge, Hwange and Masvingo.

Dandemutande has evolved into a converged ICT solutions provider with expertise in enterprise connectivity solutions that enable businesses to connect, more smoothly, with a capacity to offer enterprise Wi-Fi to every industry and field, in sectors that include agriculture, mining, banking and construction, among others.

The telecommunications company has been an internet service provider since 1997, a period under which it has become the third-largest internet provider in the country after Liquid and TelOne, according to Potraz reports.







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