13 Sep Botswana: Liquid Telecom Botswana under government spotlight
The Botswanan government’s Parliamentary Committee on Communications Works, Transport and Technology is to investigate the legality of a fibre network joint venture between Liquid Telecom and Botswana Power Corporation (BPC). Under an agreement signed in October 2016, Liquid is looking to lease capacity on BPC’s fibre-optic backbone infrastructure. The companies say that their joint venture, which operates under the name Liquid Telecom Botswana, enables utility firm BPC to make more effective use of its existing assets, while allowing Liquid Telecom to better serve the network needs of its wholesale and enterprise customers in the region.
A government hearing has now ruled, however, that the deal should be investigated, as it is competing with state-owned wholesale operator Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet). A report from Mmegi says that committee member Mephato Reatile has called the joint venture illegal. ‘We need to raise this issue in our next sitting of Parliament because this partnering of BPC with this Liquid company is totally unacceptable,’ he said. Liquid Telecom Group has operating entities in Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the UK.