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India’s Bharti Airtel Acquires Tigo Rwanda

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Acquisition will position Airtel as a strong number two operator in Rwanda after MTN

Bharti Airtel has signed a definitive agreement with Millicom International Cellular S.A., under which its subsidiary Airtel Rwanda will acquire the entire stake in Tigo Rwanda.

The acquisition will consolidate the Rwandan telecom market and position Airtel as a strong number two operator in Rwanda.

Taarifa has confirmed the buyout from sources in Airtel Rwanda saying that “its a done deal,” but did not divulge more details when pressed for figures.

We have also received a press release from Millicom confirming the buyout, but it said, “The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.”

Millicom CEO, Mauricio Ramos, said in the statement that, “The sale of our business in Rwanda is in line with our strategy to focus on providing advanced fixed and mobile data services in Latin America.”

He added that, “We are very grateful to the government of Rwanda for their support throughout the last eight years, which allowed us to extend digital inclusion to thousands of Rwandans. We are also very grateful to all our employees, whose drive and commitment enabled Tigo Rwanda to become a leading provider of digital services in the country. We are confident that Bharti Airtel will build on the strength of Tigo Rwanda and enhance the services provided to customers.”

Meanwhile, have established that this deal will earn Airtel 40% of the market share and an generate estimated $80 million in revenues, and a stronger MTN competitor.

The deal has surprised many especially after it had been hinted in the past few weeks that Econet Africa would acquire Tigo Rwanda.

tMeanwhile, an official press release from Airtel, which Taarifa has received, said that, “the transaction is based on about six times EBITDA multiple, payable over two years.”

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel is quoted as saying that “Today, it has taken yet another important step to acquire Tigo Rwanda to become a profitable and a strong challenger in a two-player market.”

“Airtel has taken proactive steps in Africa to consolidate and realign the market structure in the last few remaining countries where its operations are lagging on account of lower market share and presence of too many operators.

Airtel and Tigo have already merged their operations to create a strong viable entity in Ghana, he said.

“Today, it has taken yet another important step to acquire Tigo Rwanda to become a profitable and a strong challenger in a two-player market,” he confirmed.

“Airtel and Tigo have already merged their operations to create a strong viable entity in Ghana. Today, it has taken yet another important step to acquire Tigo Rwanda to become a profitable and a strong challenger in a two-player market,” says Bharti Airtel Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal.

Meanwhile, the agreement aims to bring together the strengths of Airtel and Millicom in Rwanda and offer benefits to customers in the form of a wider network, affordable voice and data services, and superior customer care.

Existing customers of Tigo Rwanda will join Airtel’s global network, which currently serves over 370 million customers across 17 countries.

Over the years Airtel has been solidifying its market position to become a key player in the continent with in-country acquisitions. In the past, Airtel has acquired assets in Uganda (Warid) and Congo B (Warid), Kenya (yu Mobile) and consolidated operations in Ghana (Millicom).

Customers in these markets today enjoy a superior and wider network, affordable voice and data services, Airtel Money and better customer care.

With presence across 15 African countries, Airtel is one of the largest telecom service providers across the continent in terms of geographical reach and had close to 83 million customers at the end of quarter ended September 30, 2017.

Globally, Airtel is ranked as the third largest mobile services provider in terms of customer base.

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Business

Cimerwa Records Rwf30billion Worth Of Revenue

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Rwanda’s largest cement manufacturer CIMERWA Plc has reported a major growth in its revenue in the first quarter of 2021.

The company said on Friday, it fetched Rwf 30 billion worth of revenue indicating a 14% increase as compared to the same period last year.

According to John Bugunya, the Chief Finance Officer (CFO), the company was able to stage a stronger performance despite the devastating effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our position in the first half of the year paints an encouraging picture of what our financials will look like at the end of 2021. Despite the effects of the lockdown that went into effect during the first quarter of this year, we were able to record strong revenue and profit and maintain a healthy cash balance of Rwf 8.7 billion. This speaks volumes on our resilience in the face of difficulties and challenges,” said Bugunya.

Details also indicate that Cimerwa also recorded a Rwf 1.02 billion decrease in cost of sales which was buoyed by efficiencies in plant operations and prudent cost-saving measures.

Meanwhile, Albert Sigei – Cimerwa Plc CEO said the domestic market continues to show a good growth trajectory driven by infrastructure investments across the country while the export market also grew during the period.

“Amidst this wave of growth, our market position remains strong and steady and we are gearing up to make it even more robust,” he said.

Sigei further noted that the noticeable increase in company inventories is a deliberate and strategic move to ensure that it is ready and able to supply the market with cement while maintaining support for the government’s infrastructure development agenda as a proud ‘made in Rwanda’ company.

As part of measures aimed at preventing further spread of Covid-19, the company has vaccinated about 200 staff and adheres to Standard Operating Procedures.

“Our good results during this period demonstrates Cimerwa’s ability to ride the wave of challenges that were brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This however is a collaborative effort that starts from the exceptionally skilled pool of people who work for this company, a competent and devoted board of directors and our supportive stakeholders. All of this puts us in a position to keep delivering on the promise we made to our customers, our shareholders and the country at large,” Sigei said.

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Equity Bank Rwanda Launches Payment Card Usage campaign With Visa

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Equity Bank Rwanda Launches Payment Card usage campaign with Visa. Equity Bank Rwanda has today launched an exciting Visa Card Promotion that seeks to promote usage and payments of goods and services.

The campaign will see customers win exciting prizes ranging from Household Appliances, Brand New Laptops, Supermarket Vouchers, Travel Vouchers, and many more exciting monthly prizes. Launch the new Campaign, Hannington Namara, the Managing Director, said “We are excited to launch this promotion that has been designed to create awareness about the different types of cards as well as the different benefits that customers get when they choose Equity Bank Visa Cards. This promotion will go a step further and reward those who use their cards to make payments both Online and in the Store.”

“Equity Bank offers Different Visa Cards ranging from Debit Cards, Credit Cards and soon introducing Prepaid Cards. This campaign will educate customers about each type of card, the different outlets or locations that accept Equity Visa Cards whether it is online, in the store locally or abroad when they have travelled.” he added.

The key insight behind this campaign is that customers lose a lot of time going to the ATM to withdraw cash only to go into a supermarket, petrol station or pharmacy to pay for goods and services for free.

This campaign will bring to life the customer journey of an Equity Bank Visa Card holder and draw attention to the convenience enjoyed by Equity Card Holders and reward customers every month from June to December 2021. Announcing this campaign, Namara also introduced a first-in-the-market USD- denominated Equity Bank Visa Gold Debit Card.

The Gold-rated card is the first of its kind in the Rwandan market and targets to provide convenience to the bank’s customers, who are looking to make purchases online or trade using the USD currency, Hannington Namara said that the card will enable our customers to do transaction in USD currency for free.

Equity Bank Rwanda currently issues Debit, Credit and will soon issue Prepaid Visa Cards to its customers and they include Equity Bank Visa Infinite Card, a Premium Card that gives cardholders Free Travel Insurance that covers the spouse and children plus Unlimited Access to more than 800 Airport langues around the world.

Equity Bank’s Commercial Direictor, Jean Claude Gaga says that the cards offer an affordable and secure solution to the customer and will go a long way in providing the much-needed convenience and freedom.

“Our promise is to continue to give Rwandans more convenience, comfort, and control of their financial needs, by saving time and costs while carrying out transactions especially as we continue to observe safe health measures against covid-19,” he said.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gaga took the opportunity to high the fact that all cards issued by Equity are contactless, a feature that shortens the amount of time that a customer spends when making payments in crowded stores such as supermarkets, hotels.

Speaking at the Launch event, Salma Ingabire, Country Director for Visa in Rwanda said, “We are delighted to partner with Equity bank on this timely campaign to enhance the adoption of digital payments as well as inspire and inform merchants and consumers on the benefits and effectiveness of using Visa cards.”

The campaign will run for 12 months, featuring popular brand ambassadors with huge fan bases on Rwanda’s social media platform, Bamenya and Miss Honorine Uwase.

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Business

Kenya Faces High Risk of Debt Distress

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The World Bank has warned Kenya is destined for a high risk of debt distress as it hopes for a return to fiscal consolidation by the government to smooth the debt vulnerabilities over the medium term.

According to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt sustainability analysis (DSA) published in April 2021, Kenya will be in significant breaches of key debt metrics in the run up to the redemption of a U$2 billion Eurobond in 2024.

Nevertheless, the World Bank does not see a critical refinancing risk even as it hopes to see the implementation of sound debt management operations to cool off the debt concerns.

The World Bank meanwhile expects Kenya to leverage the extended debt service suspension initiative (DSSI) to December this year as part of interventions to free fiscal space.

So far Kenya has saved an estimated Ksh.68.9 billion ($639 million) from its participation in the DSSI between January and June 2021.

The World Bank projects savings of up to U$1 billion by Kenya, if it takes up the offer for a further deferment of external debt obligations.

The World Bank projects 2020 growth at -0.3%. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) is yet to publish the 2021 Economic Survey outlining the country’s GDP metrics through last year.

Meanwhile, the World Bank projects Kenya’s growth to bounce back to a rate of 4.5% this year after plunging into negative territory in 2020.

The new projection is contained in a new report tied to the recent U$750 million financing to the country announced on Friday.

World Bank attributes the expected turnaround to the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines which have partly normalized economic activities to pre-pandemic levels.

“The base case projection factors in that COVID-19 vaccination has begun in Kenya, contributing progressively to a normalization in economic activity. The base case also assumes that normal weather supports agricultural production,” notes the report.

“On the domestic front, a final key assumption underpinning the base case is that the government resumes fiscal consolidation in the upcoming 2021/22 fiscal year, mitigating the risk of crowding out and opening more space for private credit extension and supporting investor confidence and growth.

On the external front, global economic recovery is expected to lift the demand for Kenya’s merchandise exports in 2021, but a fuller recovery in services exports (mainly tourism) is expected only in 2022 and beyond.”

Further, the World Bank expects Kenya’s current account deficit to widen on the rebounding of domestic demand which is set to fuel imports as firms increase input purchases.

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