Zimbabwe's TelOne has capitalised on a US$98-million loan facility from China Exim Bank and completed a massive fibre optic project linking Beitbridge with neighbouring countries, specifically South Africa, to bolster international trade.
The Beitbridge-Masvingo-Harare and Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Harare Backbone Fibre Optic links project was implemented by TelOne engineers, with assistance from multinational ICT and telecommunications firm Huawei.
Zimbabwe officials believe the project will not only enhance local connectivity and reduce relevant costs, it will also strengthen trade links with neighbouring countries, including Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia.
Zimbabwe ICT Minister Kazembe Kazembe said the project had helped to land internet bandwidth into the country "at significantly lower costs" and would reduce the cost of the internet by 40%.
"This kind of investment will result in increased interest of regional and global telecommunication firms in setting up projects across the country," he added.
President Emerson Mnangagwa said: "We note with pride that the establishment of these fibre links has completed the connectivity of Zimbabwe with our neighbouring countries ... the link will also provide transit services that enable SADC members to be connecting to the whole world through a robust fibre network."
Mnangagwa added that the project would help state-owned TelOne to secure investors as it nears towards privatisation.
"TelOne is one of the companies that my Government has put forward for partial privatisation. I am confident that this robust infrastructure we are commissioning today, will help the company to attract the most suitable strategic partners."