MTN exits Middle East to focus on Africa

MTN, Africa’s largest mobile operator, announced last week, August 6, plans to exit the Middle East market and concentrate solely on Africa.

The group’s CEO Rob Shuter, announced the development in an earnings statement citing that MTN decided it was best served by focusing on its pan-African strategy, leading to an exit from the Middle East “in an orderly manner over the medium term”


Additionally, he said that as a first step, MTN had entered into advanced discussions with TeleInvest to sell its 75 percent stake in MTN Syria.


TeleInvest owns the other 25 per cent stake in the operator.


The statement indicates that so far the group lists operations in Sudan, Syria, Yemen as well as Iran and Afghanistan in its Middle East file.

However, CEO Shuter highlighted that MTN will initially also look to sell its operations in Yemen and Afghanistan, before offloading its 49 per cent stake in MTN Irancell.

According to the statement, Middle East assets contributed less than 4 per cent to EBITDA in H1.

EBITDA refers to the total earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and Amortization.

Meanwhile, following the peak impact of the Covid-19 effects in April 2020, Shuter pointed out that the company was encouraged by the “sequential recovery we have observed in key voice, data and fintech trends as restrictions have gradually eased.”

“Commercial momentum continued, and we added 10.6 million subscribers to reach a total base of 261.5 million, and reached a significant milestone in surpassing the 100 million mark of active data users.” Shuter asserts.

Similarly, in an exclusive interview with The New Times, MTN Rwanda CEO Mitwa Kaemba Ng’ambi said that the company will focus on providing a great network experience.

“We know that during the lockdown period, our network was congested in certain areas due to a drastic and unforeseen shift in usage. For that reason, we will continue working tirelessly to expand the network. You will probably see us in the next couple of months making announcements on areas that we are going to enter.”

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