Abu Dhabi Group expands operations in key African markets. Invests $250 million in Uganda and DR Congo
Abu Dhabi Group is to invest $250 million in Uganda and the Republic of Congo to start mobile phone operations in the East African countries. In Uganda, a country of 28 million people, market penetration is merely 9 per cent and has tremendous potential for growth. The company is also planning to invest in Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo and plans to set up telecom networks there. African countries offer excellent investment opportunities in the telecoms sector.
The Abu Dhabi Group, owned by a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, is targetting under-penetrated mobile phone markets where growth potential is high. The company is exploring investment opportunities in the telecoms and media markets in African and Asian markets.
“We are planing to invest another $800 million building networks and increasing our subscriber base,” said Bashir Tahir, Chief Executive. The firm plans to work with Sweden’s Ericsson and China’s Huawei.
The Abu Dhabi Group already has wide ranging investments in banking, construction, real estate and manufacturing. The Group has interests in Pakistan’s telecom market through Warid Telecom, which has a customer base 11.5 million subscribers. In fact, Warid is planning to invest $800 million by 2009 to expand its network and aims to become the second-largest operator in Asia.
The Abu Dhabi Group is not only planning to set up telecom networks in key African and Asian countries but is also eyeing the growing market for digital media services by providing digital content across its networks in Asia and Africa. As part of this strategy, the company recently bought 50 per cent of Bertelsmann’s Middle East mobile phone affiliate Arvato Middle East Sales and will be promoting digital content from Germany’s Bertelsmann, including music of Elvis Presley and Christina Aguilera, Bob Dylan, Celine Dion and Elvis Presley across its telecom networks.
On the other hand, the mining sector in Chad is highly prospective and large areas for gold, bauxite, uranium, silver and alluvial diamonds have been identified. Many investment opportunities have also arisen in the telecommunications, cotton and power sectors. Privatisation is occurring in these sectors and foreign firms are participating in the tender process.