Africa’s largest telecoms operator is betting on mobile money for a historic Ghana IPO

Everyone can now get a slice.
Everyone can now get a slice.
Image: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo
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MTN, Africa’s largest telecoms operator, is going public in Ghana—its third largest market in Africa.

The initial public offering (IPO) is doubly historic: it is the largest ever undertaken in Ghana and it is also the first time shares of a major corporation can be purchased using mobile money accounts as Ghanaians will be able to buy shares using Momo Wallet, MTN’s local mobile money platform with 6.2 million users. The IPO will run from May 31 till July 31.

The IPO launch is part of an agreement with Ghanaian authorities as a condition for MTN’s 4G network license as the telecoms operator doubles down in a market it currently dominates.  MTN, which is headquartered in Johannesburg, has over 230 million customers across Africa with a market cap of $17.8 billion.

MTN Ghana’s IPO will draw watchers from Nigeria where the company is also due to publicly list its shares. Like in Ghana, MTN Nigeria’s decision to launch an IPO is believed to be a concession to authorities as part of the $1.7 billion settlement of a protracted SIM card dispute in June 2016. So far however, there is no date for the launch of the MTN Nigeria’s IPO even though plans have been underway since late 2016.