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MTN to list in Uganda

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MTN Uganda will float 20% of its shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

MTN Group, which owns 96% of MTN Uganda, said it had received approval from the Capital Markets Authority and the USE for the initial public offering (IPO).

The South-African based group said the listing would potentially be the largest IPO on the Ugandan exchange and will be delivered primarily through a digital paperless/green platform which is the first of its kind in East Africa.

"The intention to float announcement is a major step towards delivering on our plan to list on the USE," said MTN Uganda board chairperson Charles Mbire.

"It is a reaffirmation of our long-term commitment to expand investment opportunities for Ugandans and we look forward to continuing our engagement with the CMA and USE to take forward the IPO and the listing."

Reuters quoted Keith Kalyegira, CEO of the Capital Markets Authority saying that the IPO is expected to raise about $1.2 billion double what Uganda's capital market has raised since its inception in 1998.

In June 2020, MTN paid $100 million to renew its license in Uganda for another 12 years. The listing comes as no surprise as one of the conditions of the license was to list at least 20% of its equity on the stock exchange by the end of June 2022.

The decision follows listings of MTNs units in Nigeria, Ghana and Rwanda, which were a combination of a strategy for more local ownership and pressure from governments and local regulators.

MTN said that mobile penetration in Uganda has grown from less than one percent in 1998, when MTN started operating in the country, to 67% as of March 2021.

"MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) has also revolutionized the financial landscape. Formal financial inclusion has nearly doubled from 28% in 2009 when MoMo was introduced in Uganda to 58% as of 2018," MTN said.

MTN had almost 15 million subscribers in Uganda at the end of June and it said it has 1,000 direct employees in the country and employs another 150,000 indirectly.

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Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

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