Gov’t signs agreement with AirtelTigo for transfer of ownership

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Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

Government and the parent companies of AirtelTigo – Bharti Airtel Ghana Holdings B.V., MIC Africa B.V – have concluded negotiations and signed an agreement to transfer shares of the company to the Ghana government following announcement of the company’s departure from the Ghanaian market last year.

This agreement transfers all customers, assets and agreed liabilities of AirtelTigo to the government of Ghana. We consider this a positive step as it adds to the growing portfolio of digital infrastructure assets being utilised by government, said a statement issued by the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, in Accra last week

Government will operate this national asset in the best interests of the nation, the company and telecommunications industry; ensure protection for the interests of all employees, customers, contractors, suppliers and stakeholders; and sustain the digital transformation of Ghana.

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful signed on behalf of the government of Ghana, while Ms. Jatina Catharina Uneken-van de Vreede, Mr. Martin P Frechette, Mr. Timothy Pennington, Mr. Eric Nana Nipah and Mr. Vish Ashiagbor signed on behalf of the seller entities.

In October 2020, Airtel and Millicom announced that they were exiting the Ghanaian market, and this agreement concludes the extensive negotiations between the parties to ensure a seamless transition and continued operation of AirtelTigo thereafter.

“The telecommunications sector is of strategic importance to government, and it is critical the sector remains healthy, dynamic, vibrant and, most importantly, competitive. We are determined to make Ghana the digital hub of the sub-region, and this acquisition is a step in the right direction,” the statement ended.

Bharti Airtel in 2017 agreed to merge with Millicom’s Tigo in Ghana to become the country’s second-largest mobile operator, AirtelTigo.

The National Communications Authority granted approval for merging the two companies to combine their operations.

AirtelTigo serves around 5.1million subscribers and offers employment opportunities to almost 10,000 people, both directly and indirectly.

Celtel International, a subsidiary of Zain (formerly named the MTC Group), in 2007 acquired 75% of Western Telesystems Ltd. (Westel) from the government of Ghana for US$120million.

The government of Ghana remained a shareholder in Westel with a 25% holding through the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, until the above-mentioned merger.

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

Millicom Ghana Limited was the first mobile telecommunications company to operate in the country. It then operated under the brand name Mobitel, from which it transformed to become Tigo.

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