Of Econet’s Liquid Telecom Fibre And Harare’s ‘Digital Revolution’

Limbikani Makani Avatar
Liquid Telecom

Liquid TelecomAn article about the Econet metro fibre network in The Standard last week, had the following takeaway:

IMAGINE Harare, in its dilapidated state, being the most digitalised city in the world. To many, this may sound too far-fetched but for Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Econet and Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda it is only a matter of time before the dream is realised.

Well, yes, too far-fetched actually. The article goes on to explain a Public Private Partnership (now a buzz phrase with politicians here) where Econet’s satellite operator subsidiary, Liquid Telecom and the Harare City Council are embarking on a US$ 3.5million project to install fibre optic rings in the city.

There’s not much about the technical implementation except for a few pointers like: “Through the linking of such centres as Town House and Rowan Martin Building and satellite networks, the project can improve the city’s administrative efficiency.”

It’s also not too clear what the actual deal is but reading between the lines, the issue between the two seems to be about how much Econet was supposed to pay the city to lay their fibre underneath it. Apparently, city councillors are not satisfied that Econet is paying enough. The mayor on the other hand is quite enthusiastic about this: “I am really excited about this project; It will link up all our centres!”

Liquid Group executive Wellington Makamure seems to think Liquid Telecom is actually stretching itself for the good of the city: “We have in fact offered them capacity on the fibre and this is more than what any other operator who has cables underground has ever done.”

Commenting on how this will attract more investors to the city, Makamure said “Any investor will realise that they can communicate with others across the world as if they are talking to someone next door.” Makamure says the project will be completed by July. We say that’s a tad too ambitious.

Wellington Makamure curiously doesn’t show on the Liquid Telecom website team page. Maybe he’s new, or he’s the local representative, or just another case of a broken website.


  1. Nqobile

    It’s all about Harare, no one thinks about digitalising othr cities. I hope competitors will cover the geographical gap. There is a lot of potential in Bulawayo & I believe its the dream digital city of Africa.

  2. hweta

    you make it seem as though it is a rumour. you should also bother to communicate with spokespersons.

  3. hweta

    i was addressing the authour of the article, to be clear

  4. Kabweza

    Hey, thanks for the feedback. Which part makes it sound like rumor? I was simply doing a reality check of the claims made in the Standard article. If you’d like to shed more information on this, please do help.

    We contact spokespersons whenever possible. Most of the time, they only offer comments after the article is out.

  5. hweta

    what substantiation do you require? how technical can a news article be for a public which cannot be assumed to be technically apt? The language has to be friendly and communicate the said development in an understandable way. Here, I am referring to your observation of “There’s not much about the technical implementation except for a few pointers like”. How often do you get to the technical gore of a subject when announcing a benefit that to a user should mean better speeds, new technologies and greater accessibility.

    It is also a deliberate marketing action, to keep that suspense but keep the consuming public informed whilst also regarding the responsibilities it has as a public company.

    Being a technically oriented blog, surely the prevalence of facts as opposed to gossip-talk should be of high priority. There are instances where high opinion is expected, but I doubt this one is one of them

  6. Kabweza

    The Standard writer and us write for different audiences indeed. My sincere thanks for the reminder there.

    The promise that Harare will be one of the most digitalised cities in the world, and that this would be done in 5 months (July) seemed unrealistic and that was really why I felt we needed to comment on it.

    Thanks again for the comments.

  7. i2flakes

    im not too sure what you’re knowledge on this topic is, but the idea of placing fibre optic rings around an area like Harare is to increase the data capacity of data services providers such as econet, telecel, netone etc. this creates a win win situation not for only these providers who will give financial backing to such a project but with the likes of The mayor of harare backing this up grants will be offered as well. the fibre optic rings are a brilliant idea in the current climate at which demand for more data is very high and has the potential to be a huge capital generator and as mentioned earlier with the backing of the industries big players perhaps a deadline of july is an understatement

  8. Norman K M

    can i have information on to apply for job to this company. i did CCNA, Microtechnology and IT. thanks