Zambia hints at fifth telco operator

A fifth telco
for Zambia?

Enough room says
industry regulator.

Wednesday, Feb 19th

Zambia's president moves to reassure nervous investors

Zambia's president moves to reassure nervous investors.

Following the much publicised wrangling between Zambia's government and Libya's Lap Green Networks over control of Zamtel (Zambia Telecommunications Company), the Southern African country's president Edgar Lungu has moved to restore investor confidence vowing that no other companies would be "grabbed from private owners" going forward.

The president gave investors the assurance during a press conference held this week at State House.

In 2012 Lap Green Networks was forced to hand over Zamtel to the government over allegations that the company was dubiously and corruptly sold to the Libyans.

The company was sold in 2010 by the previous Zambian administration for US$ 394 million on grounds that it had failed to recapitalise the business.

Lap Green Networks denied any wrongdoing in the manner it acquired the company and said it would challenge the country's authorities in court.

The ongoing legal battle is being heard in a UK court, as per a Zambia High Court ruling stipulating that the case be heard on neutral ground.

The Zambian government insists it will compensate Lap Green Networks for its investment in Zamtel, but will not allow transfer of ownership of the company.

A plan is reportedly in place to pay back $103 million loan that Lap Green Networks secured from China's ZTE for the expansion of Zamtel network in 2011.

Lungu has urged investors to have confidence that their investments in the country were safe. "I'm aware that investors have no confidence in investing in Zambia fearing that their investments were not safe because of some companies that have been grabbed. I would like to assure the investors that their investments are safe and going forward, no company will be grabbed by the government."

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