Millicom bids adieu to the African market


Luxembourg-based telco Millicom International Cellular announced on Monday that it has signed agreements for the sale of its operations in Tanzania and for its stake in the AirtelTigo joint venture in Ghana.

Once closed, the transactions will complete Millicom’s multi-year plan to divest its African operations and focus on its Latin America markets, the company said in a statement.

In Tanzania, Millicom has agreed to sell its entire operations to a consortium led by Axian, a pan-African group that was part of the consortium that acquired Millicom’s operations in Senegal in 2018.

In parallel, Millicom along with its joint venture partner, Bharti Airtel Limited, have signed a definitive agreement for the transfer of AirtelTigo to the Government of Ghana. Millicom will take a $25 million charge as a result of this agreement.

“Today Tigo is a leading provider of broadband services to consumers, businesses and governments in Latin America, where penetration and data speeds remain low by the standards of more mature markets,” Millicom CEO, Mauricio Ramos, commented.

“Through our investment-led strategy, we are bringing reliable high-speed mobile and fixed broadband to the communities we serve in the region. With today’s announcement that we are divesting our remaining African businesses, we close a chapter in our history and open another solely focused on the Latin American region,” Ramos added.

Financial details were not disclosed, and completion of each transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

According to the company, Millicom’s Tigo boasts more than 52 million mobile subscribers across 11 countries in Latin America and Africa – this number will change following the operator’s departure from the African continent.

It is worth mentioning that Millicom has also left Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Senegal.

The provider first started entering the Asian, African, and Latin American markets back in the year 2000; Nonetheless, it seems as though the returns from Africa weren’t as profitable as that of Latin America.

Axian, however, considers the African market to be profitable.

According to the Financial Times, Axian owns Telma, a telecom firm operating in Madagascar, Comoros, Réunion Island and Mayotte. It also has a presence in Senegal through Free Senegal, the former Tigo-branded group, and in Togo, through Togocom.