Bharti Airtel to invest $100m in Uganda

Indian telecommunications company Bharti Airtel is to invest $100m in Uganda over the next two years, reports Uganda’s New Vision Newspaper today.

Manoj Kohli, CEO and joint-managing director of Bharti Airtel, said that the investment will be focused on network expansion, distribution, infrastructure, and the rollout of broadband.

Uganda has one of the worst telecommunication infrastructures in the world, resulting in some of the highest global call costs. Bharti Airtel’s investment is expected to change this significantly by sharing the infrastructural costs with the Ugandan government and reducing call costs once the new systems are in place.

Earlier this month  the company acquired the global telecommunications firm Zain Group, which operates in 15 countries throughout Africa. It paid $10.7 billion for the deal, increasing its worldwide coverage to 18 countries and over 1.8 billion people.

The new investment shows a continuing trend in Indian companies pouring money into Africa and reveals Bharti Airtel’s intent to be among the leaders in the push. In March Satyam Computer Services, an Indian software company, announced that it would be building a new facility in Egypt.

Another Indian-owned company, Tata Consultancy Services, has been investing in South Africa for the last three years. On 17 June this year M.S. Merafhe, the vice-president of African country Botswana, asked for more Indian investment.

“Bharti is committed to contribute to the long term growth of the telecommunications sector in Uganda,” Kohli said.