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Bharti Airtel to invest $100m in Uganda

Mr Kohli, the Bharti Airtel CEO (international) with Mr Oenga (right), the MD Uganda. The low tele-density in Uganda presents room for the firm to grow. Photo/STEPHEN WANDERA
Mr Kohli, the Bharti Airtel CEO (international) with Mr Oenga (right), the MD Uganda. The low tele-density in Uganda presents room for the firm to grow. Photo/STEPHEN WANDERA 

Officials of Bharti Airtel, India’s largest mobile telecom company which recently acquired Zain African operations in a $10.7 billion deal, have made their first stopover of African operations in Uganda.

Addressing a news conference in Kampala, Manoj Kohli, the international chief executive and joint managing director Bharti Airtel, said the low tele-density in Uganda presents room for the company to grow.

The company plans to invest more than $100 million in the country over the next two to three years to build the brand’s leadership goal in the country.

“Uganda’s is a very precious deal market for us and time is not far when Airtel will be a leader in this market,” Mr Kohli said.

The rate of mobile penetration in Uganda stands at 30 per cent due to high communication costs.

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Mr Kohli said Bharti Airtel will make the service affordable for both the rich and poor in rural and urban areas to increase penetration levels to more than 60 per cent.

“Bharti is committed to contribute to the long term growth of the telecommunications sector in Uganda,” he said.

He said that reduction in interconnect fees and sharing infrastructural costs will help the country reduce call costs which are currently among the highest in the world.

Strengthening networks

The deal to buy Zain’s 15 African operations was concluded in April.

Of the countries; including Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Gabon among others that it acquired, the fifth largest mobile company in the world with over 180 million customers decided to take its first step of the takeover in Uganda.

The money will be invested in strengthening networks, distribution and information technology systems, among others.

Zain Uganda managing director Yesse Oenga said: “This is a key moment in the development of the telecommunications industry not only in Uganda, but for Africa as a whole.”

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