Going Backwards? Zimbabwe’s Biggest Cellphone Operator Forced To Use Batteries In Its Operations

By  |  August 2, 2019

While the rest of the world embraces renewable energy to boost electrification and mitigate climate change, Zimbabwe’s economic woes push its industries to opt for a nearly outdated power source.

Zimbabwe’s biggest cellphone operator, Econet Wireless has been forced to use batteries and solar power to remain operational as it’s base stations lack enough fuel for operations.

The debt-ridden country abandoned the use of foreign currency in June in an attempt aimed at strengthening the local currency which was introduced. The move has taken a toll on Zimbabwe’s industry as the scarcity of foreign exchange has caused widespread shortages of different commodities.

In order to ensure the business remains afloat, the company has ordered about 200 carrier-grade batteries from Tesla. The firm still needs more than 1 000 batteries.

“We need to mobilise the foreign currency from income generated by our business”, a company spokesperson said.
“We see this as the only sustainable solution for dealing with the power crisis in our market in the long term,” the Econet spokesperson said.

The Emmerson Mnangagwa-led country is currently facing a huge crisis as a result of currency woes.

Power outages are also partly to blame for Zimbabwe’s trouble. A drop in water levels at its Kariba dam, a water source that provides the bulk of power to the country has forced the country to face 18-hour power cuts daily.

Recently, Confederation Of Zimbabwe Industries through their Matebeleland mounted pressure on the government to declare the current power crisis a state of emergency.

“When it’s declared as an emergency, all stakeholders can put their heads together and they can come up with measures to respond to the emergency,” CZI Matebeleland Chapter President Henry Ruzvidzo said while addressing the issue.

Featured Image Courtesy: Twitter

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