Bharti Airtel has announced that it will be exiting 14 African countries within a year. The affected countries include: Chad, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The telecom operator is faced with poor performance across those markets. Two years ago, when Airtel began talks to sell off its operations in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone to Orange, the company had stated that it wouldn’t be exiting Africa.
Apparently, Airtel’s foray into Africa hasn’t paid off so well. Back then, the sale of those operations was done to reduce the company’s debt portfolio. It seems clear that things haven’t worked much any better for them in other African markets since then.
In Airtel’s home country, India, Reliance Jio is giving them a big run for their money and messing things up for everyone. In Nigeria, Airtel is the only one of the big four mobile operators that is yet to launch a 4G LTE network. Perhaps the company does not see it as a profitable venture, given the present circumstances.