Bharti group to expand in Africa: Sunil Mittal

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Sunil Bharti Mittal Sunil Bharti Mittal
SummaryThe chief of Bharti group, which already has significant presence in Africa's telecom space, said that infrastructure could become a major challenge for the continent's growth.

Indian telecom czar Sunil Bharti Mittal today said that Bharti group wants to expand presence in Africa, which has high growth potential and needs huge investments in infrastructure development.

The chief of Bharti group, which already has significant presence in Africa's telecom space, said that infrastructure could become a major challenge for the continent's growth.

"The commitment that people like us have made in the continent (Africa) is good... We want to expand in Africa," Mittal said at the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting here.

Participating in a session on 'De-risking Africa', Mittal expressed happiness over the active participation of African governments in working with investors.

"...even USD 93 billion (investment) in infrastructure (in Africa) is not enough. It is a large continent, it has got a lot of catching up to do," Mittal noted.

Mittal is the Founder-Chairman and Group CEO of Bharti Enterprises. According to him, Africa would need a lot of investment in infrastructure.

"It (infrastructure) is to my mind the greatest risk to Africa's growth story... If you can have hard infrastructure in place, that is where the governments must concentrate," Mittal said.

In a deal that made Bharti Airtel one of the world's biggest mobile phone company (in terms of subscriber base), the company in 2010 had snapped up Zain's Africa operations in a deal worth over USD 10 billion.

The transaction bolstered Bharti group's presence in the fast-growing African telecom market, where it had more than 5.86 crore customers at the end of September last year.

Mittal also noted that the narrative in Africa is changing very fast and many countries are moving up the good growth curve.

"... from the point of view of investors, one of the things to see is the political leadership, to secure investments, to ensure that there are no major fallouts of any terror activity which have recently developed, importantly manage foreign exchange which does not deliver shocks, develop robust financial sector like India, deeper stock markets and the rest will follow," the Bharti chief noted.

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