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Africell budgets US$300-million for expansion

Africa , 07 Aug 2019

Africell budgets US$300-million for expansion

The chief executive officer of telecoms company Africell Ziad Dalloul has confirmed the company's plans to expand operations to Angola and Zimbabwe.

The telco currently operates in DRC, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Uganda, and has set aside US$300-million for expansion in Africa. The strategy is to consider markets where it can make a difference, according to Dalloul.

It is pursuing Angola's fourth telecoms license, once again made available after the North African country's government decided to nullify the license bidding process, completed in April 2019.

During this month Angola's President João Lourenço cancelled the process and ordered that it be reinitiated.

The initial bid reportedly attracted interest from 18 local companies and nine international firms, but most withdrew citing concern over a lack of transparency related to tender procedures.

Only three companies submitted bids and it was a largely unknown Angolan firm Telstar that ultimately secured the license.

Dalloul said: "We can change the whole thing - drop market prices, expand into rural areas, provide faster, better internet service. These are the things we know how to do. So that's why we are keeping an eye on Angola."

The company plans to strengthen its service to existing markets and secure greater market share, backed by fresh US$100-million financing secured in May 2019 from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) - the development finance vehicle of the US government.

Africell will use the fund to also expand its FinTech services including mobile payments, micro-insurance and micro-finance.

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