MTN Group set to quit the Middle East as it doubles down on Africa

The company will look to sell off its interests in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Iran
MTN Group, Africa, Middle East, Divestment, Telecoms, Business


South African headquartered MTN Group has said that it plans to exit from markets in the Middle East in order to redouble its efforts in Africa.

In his accompanying comments to MTN Group’s H1 financial report for 2020, company CEO, Rob Shuter, said that the firm would be exiting its Middle Eastern markets “in an orderly manner over the medium term”.

“As part of our ongoing portfolio review, we believe the group is best served to focus in the future on our pan-African strategy. We will therefore be exiting the Middle East in an orderly manner over the medium term. As a first step we are in advanced discussions to sell our 75% stake in MTN Syria,” said Shuter.

Shuter noted that the company’s Middle Eastern operations contributed only 4 per cent to the company’s overall EBIDTA.

MTN Group will also look to sell off its interests in Afghanistan and Yemen before divesting its 49 per cent stake in Iran’s MTN Irancell.  

MTN Group now boasts 262 million subscribers across the region, the vast majority of which are in Africa. In the first half of 2020, MTN Group added 54 million people to its 3G and 4G services. The company’s focus on affordability of data saw the average rate per megabyte reduced by 34 per cent.

Later this year, CommsMEA and the ITP Tech Division will host their first Digital Africa summit. The online event will explore the plethora of challenges and opportunities for operators and vendors looking to bring life changing connectivity and services to over a billion people. The online event will span three days and will include insights from all of Africa’s key connectivity players.

For speaking opportunities, please contact Chris Kelly, Editor of CommsMEA at

For commercial opportunities, including sponsorship and marketing packages, please contact Thomas Lambert, Sales Manager for the ITP Tech Group at   

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