The planned exit of telecom giant, Vodafone Ghana does not create a glooming picture of the local economy, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Mr Yofi Grant, has said.
Mr Yofi Grant explained that the decision by Vodafone to pack is the management’s own strategic decision not to prolong its stay in Ghana.
This does not create a disincentive for other telecom companies to invest in the economy, he said.
“If you were to tell me all the foreign companies were exiting, that will be a difficult story. But if one, for a strategic reason decides that this is not the market that they want to be in, it doesn’t create a disincentive,” he told journalists in an interview after the GIPC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) in Accra.
He added “Like I did say, these are two different opportunities. Foreign Direct Investment is directly investing in business opportunities in the country. Foreign portfolio investors then come and list their companies to invest in and create the opportunities for other investors for any exiting companies.
“So they are not the same thing. Vodafone was never listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange, for MTN it is. Companies come and go all the time, if you are to say that one signal sums up the whole market, that will be erroneous.”
Regarding the Vodafone exit, a Management Consultant, Mr Ato Conduah urged the government to allow private Ghanaian entrepreneurs to take up investments in the sector rather than the state dominating.
Mr Ato Conduah told TV3’s Paa Kwesi Asare on the Business Focus programme Monday, August 1 that “The telecoms industry is attractive all over Africa, new markets are being discovered, what is it that we can do to.
“Investors will always determine what to do based on the economy. Africa was touted to be a growing market for telecoms and as we have seen over the years, Telecom investment in Africa especially in the West of Africa has yielded good returns for these investors and in recent times most of them do not take some risks which presently they are running from,” he said.
“If you look at Vodafone, their trajectory in terms of growth has been very slow as compared to growth in other parts like in Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya and south Africa, so as a good investor if you are looking for an opportunity if you don’t have the requisite strategies that will enable you to survive in that market you might as well not come but for those who are already in the market two factors, its either your investments are not bringing you enough returns as you want or you may not have the requisite investment that will give you a leverage to get closer to the nearest person at the top which is MTN,” he said.
Bloomberg reported that the deal was subject to Vodafone meeting certain conditions, Vodafone Group has agreed a sale of its operations in Ghana to Telecel Group, as the UK-based telecom operator looks to refocus on key markets, Bloomberg reported.
A representative of Telecel confirmed the talks with Vodafone but declined to comment further.
“Telecel plans to help fund the acquisition by later offloading the Ghana business’ mobile towers, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified.”
Meanwhile, the regulator, National Communications Authority (NCA) has debunked claims that the government has blocked the sale of Vodafone Ghana to Telecel Group.
There were reports that NCA has blocked the transfer of 70 percent majority shares of Vodafone International Holdings B.V. to the Telecel Group.
But the Authority in a statement dated Tuesday, August 2 said it only conducted a critical regulatory review and evaluation in January when it was notified about the deal.
“In accordance with due process, the Authority evaluated the application on various criteria and engaged Vodafone and Telecel Group,” the statement said.
“After a critical regulatory review and evaluation, the NCA concluded that the request did not meet the regulatory threshold for approval to be granted.”
“Please note that the NCA only endeavoured to ensure compliance with regulatory framework and international best practice,” it added.