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MTN exits Liberia, two other countries over currency devaluation

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MTN pointed to signs of inflation and currency devaluation across several markets

African telecommunications giant MTN is considering exiting three markets on the continent.

The pan-African mobile operator, which currently has a presence in 19 countries on the continent and in the Middle East, said that discussions are also ongoing regarding the potential “orderly exit” of its operations in Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, and Liberia.

The report said these changes will reduce the tally to five operating countries in the group’s West and Central Africa (WECA) segment of its portfolio.

While reasons for the market exit have not been revealed, its financial reports show that it’s facing numerous challenges across the West and Central Africa region.

CEO Ralph Mupita pointed to signs of inflation and currency devaluation across several markets.

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At the end of the 2022 financial year, the company’s EBITDA margin declined by 1.7 percentage points year on year to 33.1% due to pricing pressures, fintech channel subsidies, and macroeconomic challenges, including local currency devaluations and higher inflation.

A report disclosed that these three countries are not major contributors to MTN’s revenue, accounting for only 1.6% of its total revenue in 2022.

Across these countries, telecom controls a secondary chunk of the market share, about 30% in Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry. In Liberia, Lonestar MTN is the second-largest telecom in the country.

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