MTN Group has signed a deal with technology incubation business Rocket Internet and fellow emerging markets-focused mobile operator Millicom International Cellular to develop e-commerce businesses in Africa through a business called Africa Internet Holding (AIH).
The partnership is meant to extend online retail and other digital services to consumers across Africa.
MTN, Millicom and technology incubation company Rocket Internet will each be one-third shareholders in AIH, which was founded in 2012 as a joint venture between Rocket Internet and Millicom.
AIH has a presence in 13 countries in Africa, including South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.
The company has developed several e-commerce ventures in the past 18 months, including Jumia, Zando, Kaymu, Jovago, Lamudi, Carmudi, Easytaxi and Hellofood. Its ventures employ about 1 500 people.
In a statement, Millicom CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht says MTN’s decision to invest in Rocket Internet is a “significant vote of confidence” in the company’s future.
“Between us we have more than 220m mobile customers on the continent, with very limited overlap,” Albrecht says.
MTN’s investment is subject to regulatory approval, with the deal expected to close during the second quarter of 2014.
“MTN will continue to pursue digital business adjacencies as one of its key strategic priorities to drive growth and value to our customers across Africa”, says group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media