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Ghana approves telecoms takeover

GHANA, August 15 – Ghanaian parliament has approved Vodafone\’s takeover of state-owned Ghana Telecom (GT).

The $900m deal – which gives UK-based Vodafone a 70% stake in the firm – has been attacked by opposition MPs for grossly undervaluing GT.

But communications minister Benjamin Aggrey-Ntim said it would enable Ghana to become a vibrant and competitive player in the telecoms market.

GT is Ghana\’s third largest mobile phone firm with 1.4 million customers.

As well as mobile interests, Ghana Telecom has a monopoly over fixed-line services and employs 4,000 staff.

However, the company is unprofitable and has debts of $400m.

Looking ahead, Vodafone said it plans to boost Ghana Telecom\’s share of the mobile market to 25% from its current 17% and invest $500m to expand network coverage.

There are 2.7 million mobile subscribers in Ghana, although overall mobile penetration per head of the population in the west African country remains low at 35%.

Rapid uptake in mobile use on the continent has attracted foreign firms.

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Vodafone already owns half of Vodacom, the leading mobile business in South Africa, Tanzania, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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