[AFP] The sale of Zimbabwe's state-owned mobile phone operator NetOne -- a first key test for the new government's massive privatisation plan -- is generating huge interest, the company's CEO told AFP.
"Since September 15, when the power sharing agreement was signed, there has been an increase in inquiries from the UK, Canada, Italy, looking for opportunities," NetOne chief executive Reward Kangai said in an interview.
NetOne is the second biggest operator in the country and competes with two privately owned companies for the Zimbabwe market, which has only 1.4 million mobile phone users but is seen as having strong potential for growth.
The sale is part of a broader effort to bring in much-needed funds for an economy riven by hyperinflation, political strife and disease. State assets in the oil sector, air transport and railways are also planned for privatisation.
The unity government, which only took office this February following disputed elections in March 2008, says it needs more than 8.5 billion dollars (6.4 billion euros) over three years to haul the country out of economic ruin.
Telecom sale tests Zimbabwe's privatisation plans