Kwese TV hit by Zimbabwe currency crisis
August 6, 2019
By Chris Forrester
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 5 channels in South Africa including a 24-hour sports channel.