Kwese TV Hit by Zimbabwe Currency Crisis

08 Aug 2019

Despite being financed by Zimbabwe’s richest private individual, Strive Masiyiwa, Kwese TV has closed.

It was launched as a potential rival to South Africa’s MultiChoice/DStv operation, but Econet Wireless will shut its African pay-television unit due to the country’s economic condition and shortage of foreign currency, Group CEO Douglas Mboweni announced.

“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 — characterised by an acute shortage of foreign currency — sustaining Kwese and Kwese Satellite Service was no longer viable.”

Masiyiwa’s Econet Media business operated in more than a dozen East African countries, but went into voluntary administration in July and is now being looked after by Ernst & Young.

The TV operation has a reported $130 million of debt.

Kwese TV had planned to launch five channels in South Africa, including a 24-hour sports channel.