Why MTN is saying goodbye to the Middle East to focus on Africa

By Quentin Velluet
Posted on Tuesday, 13 September 2022 16:20, updated on Wednesday, 23 November 2022 15:02

The South African behemoth MTN is now only present on the continent. This picture shows an MTN branch in Cotonou, Benin. © Jacques Torregano for JA

MTN Group no longer controls subsidiaries in the MiddleEast. It has instead decided to focus on the continent, which offers more opportunities in the long term as CEO Ralph Mupita restructures activities to turn the South African giant into a major fintech player.

Afghanistan’s number one operator also turned out to be its owner MTN’s main burden. The South African giant is close to concluding talks to sell the unit and its approximately 2.3 million customers after it received a $35m buyout offer in August, although the buyer’s name has not yet been disclosed.

After selling Yemen in November 2021 and handing over its Syrian subsidiary to the local authorities that same year, the yellow brand’s latest operation seems to confirm its desire to withdraw definitively from the Middle East, a region that has caused it many problems.