e& to invest $6bn to advance connectivity in 16 countries
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UAE’s e& to invest $6bn to advance connectivity in 16 countries

UAE’s e& to invest $6bn to advance connectivity in 16 countries

The group is set to reinvest in building networks of the future to accelerate technology adoption and increase fibre penetration and fast mobile network speeds

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e& allots $6bn to boost connectivity in 16 markets

e& Group has pledged to invest $6bn over the next two years to advance technological and infrastructure development, and boost digital solutions in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

The UAE telecoms giant said the investment is set to provide accessible and affordable network connectivity and digital services in 16 markets it serves across the three continents.

“e&’s pledge aims to provide meaningful connectivity in emerging markets, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Chad, Togo, and Niger,” the Abu Dhabi-listed company said in a statement.

The investment is set to enhance network accessibility and affordability in emerging economies by expanding network coverage, boosting connectivity and ensuring access to cheaper telecoms services.

“With these investments, we can better serve customers and allow them to engage in more economic activities,” said Hatem Dowidar, group CEO of e& Group.

As e& pledges to invest $6 billion in digital infrastructure and services, we aim to drive economic growth, innovation, and infrastructure development, significantly reducing inequalities and empowering communities to thrive in a more inclusive and connected digital world.”

e& said the pledge will also facilitate the widespread adoption of digital services including mobile financial solutions, telehealth and education in underserved areas.

The group said it is also set to reinvest in building networks of the future to accelerate technology adoption and increase fibre penetration and fast mobile network speeds.

With its $6bn commitment to the International Telecommunication Union’s Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, e& builds on its contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – including quality education, gender equality, and industry, innovation and infrastructure development.

e& Group’s growth strategy

With a market capitalisation of $42.9bn (Dhs157.4bn) as of March 04, 2024, e& has emerged as one of Abu Dhabi’s top overseas investors along with the emirate’s various sovereign funds. The telecoms giant’s expansion plans fit with Abu Dhabi’s ambition to grow state-owned entities through acquisitions, creating companies with large international footprints.

e& has built up a stake in UK’s Vodafone since its initial investment in May 2022 and the two companies agreed to deepen their relationship in May 2023.

Its group CEO Dowidar joined the board of Vodafone last May and he will stay on the board for as long as the company maintains its current 14.6 per cent stake in the British telecoms company.

e& also agreed to acquire a controlling stake in PPF Telecom Group’s assets in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia for $2.4bn last August, following through on the group’s plan to boost its global presence by diversifying into new geographies.

The deal includes as much as EUR350m in milestone payments if PPF exceeds certain targets, and has a clawback provision of as much as EUR75m if it does not. It also marked the Abu Dhabi firm’s second large foray into Europe since its investment in Vodafone.

Read: UAE’s e& ends talks to raise stake in Saudi Arabia’s Mobily

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