The government of Ghana is to buy AirtelTigo as approved by the board of parent company Bharti Airtel yesterday.
The transaction will see the Ghanaian government take 100% of the company’s shares, plus its customers, assets and agreed liabilities. The total sum paid for the operator was reported to be Rs 184.1 crore, just under US$25 million.
In a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange this week, Airtel said: “The parties are in advance stages of discussions for conclusion of the commercial agreement for the transfer of AirtelTigo on a going concern basis to the Government of Ghana.”
The sale has been on the cards since AirtelTigo was formed in 2017 following the merger of Bharti Airtel’s Ghana subsidiary and Tigo, owned by Millicom.
Some Local media has reported that, as a condition of the sale, the National Communication Authority, Ghana’s telecoms regulator, said the national government must have the option to take a share in the new entity in future.
In an assessment of the national market in February, GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communication) said that the country has the highest mobile penetration in West Africa and already outperforms many of its regional groups. By the end of 2019, mobile adoption stood at 55 per cent, higher than the regional average which is at 44.8 per cent. This means a huge number of people can be served through digital services, positively impacting the growth of the digital economy.
Further, the industry enjoys broad support from the government, which plans to launch five submarine fibre-optic cables.
Internet penetration in Ghana which currently stands at 64 per cent (as of Q3) according to GSMA Intelligence. The Deputy Minister shared his ambitious goal to have 95 per cent of the population connected by December 2020.