Battle continues for control of Econet

14 Jan 2004

Pan-African mobile holding company Econet Wireless International (EWI) has delivered an ultimatum to its partner in Kenya’s third mobile operator Econet Kenya – give us 51% of the company or we will pull out of the venture altogether. EWI currently holds a 10% stake in the Kenyan operation, which was awarded its concession last September after bidding alongside local partner Kenya National Federation of Cooperatives (KNFC). Whilst it remains unclear the size of the stake taken by KNFC in Econet Kenya, the two parties have now locked horns over EWI’s demands, despite allegedly signing a memorandum of understanding prior to receiving the licence under which EWI would be granted majority control of Econet Kenya. KNFC director Apollo Kihara told reporters recently ‘We have not agreed to give EWI the 51% stake because the issue has not been discussed by the various management boards before approval’.