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What of Vodafone Ghana's economic future?

Ghana , 12 Feb 2020

What of Vodafone Ghana's economic future?

In extension of its plans to focus more on the highly competitive European market, Vodafone Group Plc is handing over the control of Vodafone Ghana to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed Vodacom Group Limited. This will take effect from April 2020. The move has now reignited speculation over Vodafone Ghana's plans to list.

In addition to Ghana, Vodafone's operations in Tanzania, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa, are also going under the control of Vodacom Group Limited.

Chief executive officer of Vodacom Group Limited, Shameel Joosub told Bloomberg that under the restructuring, Vodafone Ghana's brand will not change and the UK parent company will not transfer assets.

Vodafone has been taking steps aimed at repositioning its operations to enable it focus on the highly competitive market in Europe.

In late January 2020, ITWeb Africa reported an agreement was reached by Vodafone Group to sell its stake in Vodafone Egypt to Saudi Telecoms for US$2.4-billion.

A similar action was taken in Kenya in 2017 when Vodafone transferred its minority stake in Safaricom worth US$2.6-billion to Vodacom.

"The larger group has sold some assets in North Africa, and the focus will be on Sub-Saharan Africa under Vodacom," said Joosub.

Vodacom's latest move is similar to the structure that its competitors in the market already have. MTN Group coordinates MTN's operations across Africa, while Airtel Africa is also in charge of India's Bharti Airtel operations in Africa.

Vodafone Ghana has fought against pressure to list on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) citing the need for debt restructuring and issues with the government.

After it acquired the 2x5MHz lot in the 800MHz spectrum band for 4G in 2019, Vodafone Ghana publicly opposed a call by GSE's chief executive officer Kofi Yamoah on the government to compel the operator to list its shares.

"The 4G LTE licensing conditions DO NOT mandate licensees to launch an IPO (initial public offer) on the GSE and nowhere in the bid documents or the license condition is reference even made to listing," Vodafone Ghana stated.

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