Weekly digest for 30 April 2021

KEY READING FOR THE WEEK

This week’s main story is from Kenya, where the effects of the National ICT Policy are slowly being assessed. Rumours surfaced this week that Airtel Kenya was looking at options, including leaving Kenya, because of the requirement in the National ICT Policy that only companies with 30% “substantive” Kenyan ownership can be licensed to provide ICT services. Airtel Kenya has denied that it is considering leaving Kenya, but it will need to restructure its Kenyan business within the next 3 years in order to comply with the local ownership requirement. This is an increasing trend in Africa to require ICT providers to have a significant local ownership. In South Africa, the proposed Wireless Open Access Network would need to have 70% South African ownership.

OTHER WEEKLY NEWS FROM AROUND AFRICA
  • Ethiopia: Two groups have submitted bids for the two licenses on offer: MTN and a consortium including Safaricom, Vodafone, Vodacom,¬†Sumitomo Corp and CDC Group. Ethiopia has said that they anticipate announcing winners within a few weeks, though since there are only 2 bids, it would seem likely that both MTN and the Safaricom group will get the licenses.
  • Ghana: MTN is planning on investing ZAR 2.1 billion (around USD149 million) into the Ghanaian market. This is after the government of Ghana announced that it had purchased AirtelTigo for USD 1. However, the Ghanaian government seems very reluctant to discuss how much money it would need to invest in AirtelTigo to make it a viable competitor to MTN. MTN has over 55% market share.
  • Namibia: A new ICT Policy is being considered. Namibia has no formal policy or legislation on cybercrime, cybersecurity, data protection or data privacy.
  • Botswana: Internet subscriptions increased by 13% YoY. Part of the reason, says the regulator, BOCRA, is the lower wholesale prices as a result of increased bandwidth capacity via submarine cables EASSy and WACs.