Zimbabwe’s Econet Wireless Ltd will shut its African pay-TV unit in Zimbabwe due to the country’s economic condition and shortage of foreign currency, group Chief Executive Officer Douglas Mboweni said.
Recently Zimbabwe ditched the multiple currency system, which was dominated by the US dollar and the rand, to adopt a local currency, which has been hit by runaway inflation.
Owned by Zimbabwe’s richest man Strive Masiyiwa’s Econet Wireless Group, Kwese has been operating in close to 20 African countries through its pan-African rights for several sporting events.
“We regret to announce the discontinuation of Kwese TV Satellite Service with effect from Aug. 5,” Mboweni said in a statement Sunday. The service was offered by Econet Media Ltd., an affiliated company.
“The third party content providers on whose content we rely, require payment in foreign currency,” he added. “With the prevailing economic conditions in Zimbabwe, and the current business operating environment –characterized by an acute shortage of foreign currency –sustaining Kwese and Kwese Satellite Service was no longer viable.”
Econet Media operates in more than a dozen countries under the Kwese brand and is owned by Zimbabwe’s richest man, Strive Masiyiwa.
Last month the company went into voluntary administration and appointed accountants Ernst & Young to manage the process as it pays its creditors.
Kwese Free TV is 20% owned by Masiyiwa’s group. Royal Bafokeng Metix has a 45% stake and Mosong Equities, a subsidiary of Mosong Capital, an entity founded by entrepreneur Moss Mashishi, has a 35% shareholding.