In Zimbabwe, the installation of the fibre-optic cable connecting Harare to Beitbridge (on the S. African border) via Bulawayo, which was due to start early this year is to commence this week.
WIOCC shareholder, TelOne’s, Managing Director Mr Hampton Mhlanga said the project was delayed because the Chinese contractors had problems in meeting immigration requirements. “We were having problems acquiring visa and work permits for the Chinese contractors. That has slowed down progress in the project we had earmarked for completion at the end of the year,” he said. He added that work on the project was scheduled to start on May 8.
In the 2011 National Budget, Government allocated US$15 million for the Harare-Bulawayo-Beitbridge and Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge fibre-optic project which covers a total distance of about 1,340km. Mr Mhlanga said TelOne was also upgrading existing backbone infrastructure for the Harare-Kariba link.
TelOne has already completed installation of the Harare to Mozambique fibre-optic cable. Before this was laid, Zimbabwe had been using the Mazowe earth satellite link, which is expensive and has limited capacity. Once complete, the fibre-optic links will enable faster Internet and telephone connection, transmission of data as well as multimedia facilities.
WIOCC has held its first Sales & Commercial Conference for shareholders and sales agents. The conference, held in Naivasha, Kenya between 9th and 12th March 2011, brought together 44 delegates from WIOCC’s shareholders and agents in the different countries of Africa.
The conference built on sales training carried out during the second half of 2010 and earlier this year. It was designed as a platform for discussion between representatives of key functions within WIOCC shareholder teams – to boost knowledge and understanding, exploit synergies and recognise and address common challenges and opportunities. Those present included sales & commercial teams, pricing and billing managers, technical and regulatory teams from across WIOCC and its shareholders.
“It was a good experience for us to take part in that event, as we are starting work on the Sales Plan now thanks to the insights from the conference.” said Celestin Bukene, Sales Director at UCom Burundi.
The three-day event culminated in a bush dinner at which WIOCC was able to recognise its shareholders for their performance over the nine months since EASSy went live.
The whole event proved extremely successful in creating an environment for shareholder sales, commercial and technical teams to meet and interact with each other, pooling their experience and insights from across WIOCC’s markets in pursuit of the common vision of a United Africa, Connecting the World.
Rankobane Mathule, Director Technical Division from Lesotho Communication Authority said, “It was a very engaging workshop in essence and I derived great pleasure in interacting with other shareholders and the interaction which ensued. Let us all keep the ball rolling and I earnestly believe we are onto something great for the African continent.”