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Zimbabwe, China clinch FTTH deal

Zimbabwe, China clinch FTTH deal.

Zimbabwe's state-owned fixed phone operator and internet services provider, TelOne, has received a financial boost for its internet roll-out project after the Southern African country secured a Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) investment deal with China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping - who arrives in South Africa this afternoon - and President Robert Mugabe presided over the signing of the TelOne deal last night.

Jinping will co-chair the China-Africa economic cooperation summit in Johannesburg from 4 to 5 December.

The TelOne deal was among ten investment deals entered into between the two countries. China is playing an increasingly significant role in Zimbabwe's telecommunications infrastructure development through funding after it availed a loan of approximately $200 million for state-owned NetOne's mobile network upgrade and expansion.

China's Eximbank will avail a concessionary loan for the TelOne FTTH fibre optic backbone project.

Although no details were forthcoming regarding the value of the investment, sources said the TelOne fibre internet deal was worth around $100 million.

Mugabe lauded China for its economic support to the southern African country, which is increasingly being shunned by western and other international investors.

He said China was a "rapidly developing country" and added that "key areas" Zimbabwe needed investment assistance included roads, rail and "infrastructure development" development for areas such as communications.

Joey Bimha, Secretary for Foreign Affairs in Zimbabwe, said earlier on Tuesday that it was "all systems go" for the investment deals.

The country's Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said at the Harare Airport after the arrival of Jinping that China was showing growing interest in investing in fast growing areas such as telecommunications infrastructure development.

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