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Business News of Friday, 30 October 2020

Source: Ghanaian Times

Plans to transfer AirtelTigo shares to govt at final stages

The Government of Ghana and AirtelTigo have begun the final stages of discussions concerning the transfer of AirtelTigo shares to the government along with all its customers, assets and agreed liabilities.

The transaction would be concluded by the execution of definitive agreements shortly after which the government would temporarily operate the asset in the best interest of the nation.

The move would also ensure protection of interests of all employees, customers and stakeholders, while continuing on with the digital transformation in Ghana.

Given the multiplier impact the telecommunications sector has on the economy and its various related industries, the government of Ghana entered into this agreement with the purpose of protecting the jobs of thousands of Ghanaians.

It is, therefore, of critical importance that the telecommunications sector remained healthy, dynamic, vibrant, and most importantly, competitive.

Bharti Airtel in 2017, merged with Millicom’s Tigo in Ghana to become the country’s second largest mobile operator, AirtelTigo, with the approval of The National Communications Authority.

AirtelTigo serves around 5.1 million subscribers and offers direct and indirect employment opportunities to almost 10,000 people.

Celtel International acquired 75 per cent of Western Telesystems Ltd (Westel) from the Government of Ghana for $120 million in 2007.

Celtel was subsequently acquired by the Zain Group, which also sold all its African Assets to Bharti Airtel, in 2010.

The government of Ghana remained a shareholder in Airtel Ghana with a 25 per cent holding through the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, until the AirtelTigo merger, and retained an option to acquire additional shares after the merger.

Westel was at the time of the takeover by Celtel, the second national operator in Ghana and was licensed to provide fixed and mobile (GSM) telecommunications services.

Millicom Ghana Limited was the first mobile telecommunications company to operate in the country under the brand name Mobitel before rebranding to become Tigo.

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