THREE newly licensed telecommunication companies have pledged a US$55 million investment in growing the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector through the provision of mobile data services.
The three are Airtel Zambia Telesonic Holdings of the United Kingdom, Bayobab, formerly MTN Global Connect and BCS Group Zambia.
And Science and Technology Minister Felix Mutati says the development will grow the ICT sector by 40 per cent, making Zambia a leader in terms of the industry’s growth on the continent.
“Zambia will now be the fastest growing country in the ICT sector in Africa due to the infrastructure to be laid by these three competing firms. And despite being competitors, they have put together a combined investment which will help us leverage on our geographical location to become the ICT hub of the region,” Mr Mutati said.
Speaking during a Press briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Mutati said the Government had laid incentives for more players to come on board in growing the ICT sector.
He said this would make ICT products easily accessible and affordable for the citizenry.
“Under the Government of President Hakainde Hichilema, we have competing firms sitting on the same table having coffee, that is the new normal and having smelled the coffee that Zambia is brewing, they now want to drink it; hence this investment of $55 million,” he said.
At the same occasion, ZICTA Director General Choolwe Nalubamba said the selection of the three was transparent and aimed at encouraging more players in the industry.
Airtel telesonic representative Suzyo Akatama assured that the firm would ensure that clients were afforded efficient services.
Ms Akatama said the firm had scoped a vast part of the country to lay optic fibre network.
Bayobab Zambia chief executive officer Lillian Butwalo said the development was an opportunity for the firm to contribute towards actualising Zambia’s digital growth.
Ms Butwalo said the company was on a journey to connect Zambia with digital solutions through its two distinct businesses, Bayobab Fibre and Bayobab Communication.
And BCS group chief regulatory officer Susan Mulikita said Zambia was a key market for the firm due to the interest by Zambians to participate in ICTs.
Ms Mulikita said the firm was a pan- African telecom infrastructure company that operated across the African continent and specialised in delivering fibre connectivity solutions to wholesale customers.
The firm currently serviced 17 countries in Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa.