The Ghanaian government has blocked Vodafone’s £450m (R6,975m) purchase of a controlling stake in the state-owned Ghana Telecom. France Telecom had been in the running to acquire a shareholding in Ghana Telecom but Vodafone, the world’s largest operator in terms of revenue, managed to do the deal by agreeing to acquire 70 percent of the Ghanaian carrier, with the government retaining 30 percent.
“Ghana is one of the most attractive markets in Africa with mobile subscribers growing at more than 55 per cent p.a. and mobile penetration around 35 per cent. Our extensive operating experience together with our portfolio of products and services position us well to deliver a superior mobile experience to Ghanaian customers and significantly improve financial performance,” outgoing Vodafone chief Arun Sarin said.
However, according to recent reports the government in Ghana has intervened. Ghana’s main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) complained that Vodafone was getting the country’s telecom far too cheaply. Vodafone will have to wait until October to proceed with the deal as the Ghanaian parliament will be in recess till then.
It is expected that France Telecom may view the delay as an opportunity to again open up the bidding against Vodafone.
Ghana has a population of 24 million, of which more than 50 per cent are under the age of 25. The country has a relatively low mobile penetration at around 35 per cent, and Ghana Telecom as the number three player own about 17 per cent of the market with 1.4 million customers.