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MTN South Africa records high profit despite poor economy



MTN Group’s South African unit on Wednesday said it reported high profit and subscriber growth in 2021.

The tech giant disclosed that its subscriber numbers jumped by three million to 35 million as “churn stabilised” and as the company reported higher gross additions.

According to the company, service revenue climbed by 6.5%, while data revenue leapt 13.1%. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) – a measure of operational profitability – increased by 6.1%, although the Ebitda margin contracted marginally to 38.9%.

Data consumption accelerated in 2021, according to the yearly report, with data traffic growth of 58.3% and a 12.5% increase in the number of customers actively using the Internet, MTN said.

Capital expenditure rose to R10.4-billion when measured using IFRS 16 reporting standards (or R9.1-billion under IAS 17 rules), an increase over 2020’s investment.

“MTN South Africa delivered very strong overall results in 2021, on sustained commercial and operational execution across all business units. The [operating company] maintained a solid growth trajectory in all core businesses, namely the prepaid consumer business unit (CBU); the post-paid CBU; the enterprise business unit; and the wholesale business,” MTN Group said.

“This performance was achieved against a challenging macroeconomic and consumer backdrop and increasing unemployment rates in industries such as hospitality and tourism. MTN South Africa was also impacted by shifts in customer spending patterns as lockdown restrictions abated and the movement of people increased. This intensified competition for share of the consumer’s wallet.”

Still, the company’s 6.5% service revenue growth exceeding the medium-term target and was supported by healthy performances by the prepaid CBU (up 2.1%), the post-paid CBU (up 4.5%), enterprise (up 16.8%) and wholesale (up 21.7%).


Kenya: Parliament approves appointment of Kamau Thugge as central bank governor



Months after throwing open the position for the country’s top banker, Kenya’s parliament has approved the appointment of Kamau Thugge as the country’s central bank governor.

The National Assembly on Wednesday approved the
appointment of economist and senior civil servant who was nominated by President William Ruto as the next apex bank chief.

Thugge, who served as principal secretary in the finance ministry until mid-2018, was nominated after serving as one of the president’s senior economic advisers since late last year.

He shook off competition from others shortlisted candidates like Adan Mohamed, who served in the cabinet from 2013-2022, with four others also interviewed for the role.

The new central bank governor will be faced with the immediate pressure of stabilizing the country’s monetary policy as the East African giant currently faces a shortage of funds amidst rising public debt.

Despite the odds, the World Bank in a report earlier today expects growth to edge up to 5.0% in 2023, underpinned by a recovery in agriculture.

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Ghana presents ‘working proposal’ for debt restructuring— IMF sources



West African country, Ghana has made a major move at resolving its debt crisis as the country has presented debt restructuring proposal to its creditors.

According to sources quoted by Reuters, a “working proposal” has been submitted to help the country escape its worst economic crisis in a generation.

One of the sources revealed that the proposal was a first attempt to engage the official creditor committee after its formation in May. It should be recalled that the Paris Club last month announced that official sector of creditors of Ghana had formed a committee co-chaired by China and France for debt restructuring talks.

The plan is to end restructuring of domestic debt before turning to negotiations with its official bilateral creditors and international bondholders, a government official said.

Ghana is one of several cash-strapped countries facing unprecedented delays in getting bailouts as China, its biggest bilateral creditor with about $1.7 billion of debt and Western economies disagree over how debt relief should be structured.

The first formal review of the programme will hold in the coming months as an IMF team will visit Ghana between 8th and 15th of June.

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