The Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) has finally come out to confirm the exit of Africell Uganda from Uganda’s telecom sector. The regulator was established under section 4 of the Uganda Communications Act, 2013(the Act) to oversee and regulate the communications sector in Uganda with the mandate to, among others, monitor, inspect, license, supervise, control, promote and safeguard interests of consumers and providers of communications services in Uganda.
UCC has confirmed that Africell Uganda Limited (Africell) decided to stop providing telecommunication services in Uganda. This comes at a time when Finance Minister Hon Matia Kasaija urged the Lebanese-based telecom company to stay in the market and have talks with the government to work a deal out.
Africell entered the Ugandan telecom market in 2014 after she acquired the majority shares in Orange Uganda Limited. Africell’s shareholders have, however, decided to reconsolidate their investments in Africa and have accordingly decided that they do not wish to have Uganda as part of Africell’s portfolio anymore and instead focus on other parts of the world where they have a competitive advantage.
In accordance with its mandate under the Act and the Regulations made thereunder, UCC has set several conditions to be satisfied by Africell before her planned exit. The pre-exit conditions are intended to ensure that the interests and rights of Africell’s customers, agents, employees, trade creditors, and the Government of Uganda are safeguarded before the exit. The communication regulator is also working with sister agencies to ensure compliance with the various laws, including the National Environment Protection Act and the Data Protection and Privacy Act.
Africell Uganda has committed to ensuring that all customers, agents, employees, and other trade creditors are paid their claims before the actual date of cessation of operation in Uganda. Therefore, all persons with claims against Africell are advised to immediately contact the telecom firm to work out arrangements to settle their claims before the 7th of October 2021.
UCC has also assured all stakeholders that Uganda’s communication sector is resilient and attractive to local and foreign investors, and sufficient measures have been instituted to ensure that Africell’s exit does not negatively affect the stability and integrity of the communication sector in Uganda.