Senegalese government claims to have taken ‘all measures’ to retake control of Sonatel

30 Apr 2014

The government of Senegal claims to have taken every step necessary to retake full control of the national incumbent PTO Sonatel (Orange) when the operating licnece held by the carrier ends in 2017, online journal Agence Ecofin reports the Minister of Communications and the Digital Economy, Cheikh Bamba Dieye, as saying. As it stands, Sonatel is owned by Orange Group (42.30%) and the government of Senegal (27.15%). The remaining 30.55% is in the hands of employees and private individuals. Following an amendment of the shareholders’ agreement between Orange Group and the Senegalese government, Sonatel was fully consolidated in the French telco’s results from 1 July 2005.

However, the government is seeking to change that, with the minister noting: ‘We are fully aware of what Orange Group offers in terms of modernisation, as they are in a large group … But every element must be [put in place so that] Sonatel remains a Senegalese company … which is why any economic growth at Sonatel is immediately listed in our national economy.’ Hence the government is committed to preserve what it terms the ‘territorial anchoring’ of Sonatel and its control by the state. Despite the bullish statement, it has not been ruled out that the government will renew Orange Group’s concession, and indeed on 16 April this year its CEO Stephane Richard held talks with the president, Macky Sall, to confirm the French telco’s commitment to Senegal.

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