Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


MTN promises $1.6B Nigeria investment, legal woes over

Article Image
Pan-African mobile operator MTN has promised to invest $1.6 billion in Nigeria over the next three years, to strengthen and expand its network and operations in the country.

The news came shortly before MTN also confirmed it had resolved its legal action against the attorney general of the West African country.

"We are steadfast about our investments in Nigeria, particularly over the next three years as we aim to strengthen and expand our network and systems. We are fully aligned with the strategic agenda of the Nigerian government and are committed to strengthening the digital economy of the country," said MTN Group Chairman Mcebisi Jonas in a prepared statement.

Jonas, along with MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter and MTN Nigeria CEO Ferdi Moolman, this week met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and other key Nigerian government officials, before announcing the capital investment commitment.

Nigeria is a very important market to MTN and is its biggest, in terms of user numbers, out of its 21 markets in the Middle East and Africa. The operator had about 61.5 million mobile users in Nigeria halfway through 2019, which gives it about 36% market share in the country.

MTN investment in Nigeria is nothing new for the telco giant: it spent almost R9 billion ($614 million) in capex in Nigeria in 2017 and another R6.9 billion ($470 million) in 2018, while its guidance for 2019 was about R7.8 billion ($530 million).

The country is also a good money maker for MTN and in 2018 and 2019 brought in the second-biggest revenue amount for the group, after South Africa.

An executive delegation from MTN met with Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari and senior officials. Source Twitter.
An executive delegation from MTN met with Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari and senior officials. Source Twitter.

Tax battle over
MTN has had a number of legal troubles in Nigeria during the past few years, but on Thursday it said it had resolved a long drawn out tax-related court case in the country.

MTN said in a separate statement that MTN Nigeria had appeared before a Federal High Court in Lagos to formally discontinue its legal action against the attorney general and minister of justice. This came after MTN earlier this month announced the attorney general has withdrawn a $2 billion tax demand after a lengthy court battle. (See Nigeria's Attorney General Gives Up on $2B MTN Tax Battle .)

MTN applied on Thursday to have the legal action struck out and the request was granted by the court.

The Nigerian attorney general first handed MTN the tax bill in September 2018 for taxes allegedly owed in relation to the import of foreign equipment and payments to foreign suppliers since 2008.

From the start MTN opposed the demand and took the matter to court in Nigeria, and the case was postponed a number of times. (See MTN at Loggerheads With Nigerian Authorities – Again.)

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Safaricom launches M-Pesa 'super app'

Safaricom has launched its long-awaited M-Pesa 'super app' with new features like offline mode as well as mini-apps within the app.


Hot startup of the month: Nigeria's Bankly

Nigerian startup Bankly is digitizing cash for people who work in the informal sector and helping unbanked Nigerians save money, invest and gain access to credit and other financial services.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: May 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context and analysis about new licenses for operators in Ethiopia and Uganda, and Nigeria's 5G rollout plans.


Omdia View: April 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context around Ethiopia's telecoms licensing process, Millicom's plans to exit Tanzania and Ghana, and Airtel Africa's successful capital raise.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

AfricaCom perspectives


Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.


Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.


How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

North Africa Com
July 13-14, 2021
Virtual Event
Asia Tech x Singapore
July 13-16, 2021
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Africa Tech Festival
November 8-12, 2021
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Technologies and business models to connect the next billion

Nearly half the planet remains unconnected at a time when COVID-19 has forced people’s reliance on the Internet and digital technologies higher than ever before. Bridging the digital divide to provide Mobile Internet access – the main driver of digital inclusion – is exceedingly important in the current context. Overcoming this connectivity crisis represents a growth opportunity for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to expand their services outside of the crowded, highly competitive urban markets.

In this webinar we will focus on solutions that help MNOs close both the coverage gap and the usage gap.

Key topics include:

  • What are the barriers to overcome increased Mobile Internet adoption?
  • How to match deployments cost with expected revenue?
  • Operator success story

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up