The government of Ghana and the parent companies of AirtelTigo – Bharti Airtel Ghana and Millicom International Cellular Africa – have concluded negotiations and executed a definitive agreement to transfer the telco to the Ghanaian government on a going concern basis. The agreement, which will see the government acquire 100% of AirtelTigo’s shares along with all customers, assets and agreed liabilities, follows the announcement in October last year of the company’s decision to exit the Ghanaian market. The transaction is subject to closing of the mutually agreed conditions and the three parties involved will expeditiously complete the closing, Bharti Airtel said in a filing.
In a statement, the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, noted the government considers this a positive step as it adds to the growing portfolio of digital infrastructure assets being utilised by the state. ‘Government will operate this national asset in the best interest of the nation, the company, telecommunications industry, and ensure the protection of the interests of all employees, customers, contractors, suppliers, stakeholders and sustain the digital transformation of Ghana,’ she stressed, adding: ‘The telecommunications sector is of strategic importance to the government and it is critical the sector remains healthy, dynamic, vibrant and most importantly, competitive.’
Bharti Airtel and Millicom International Cellular (MIC) merged their Ghana operations in October 2017 to create the country’s second largest cellco at the time, although it has since slipped behind rival Vodafone Ghana. According to the latest figures released by the National Communications Authority (NCA), the operator had 8.14 million subscribers at 31 December 2020, compared with 8.54 million twelve months earlier.