Bharti Airtel today announced the launch of its operation in Rwanda, expanding its footprint on the African continent to 17 countries. Airtel has already said that it will invest over $100 million (R700 million) in its operations over the next three years and generate direct and indirect employment opportunities.
Commenting on the launch, Manoj Kohli, CEO (International) & Joint MD, Bharti Airtel said, “We are delighted to launch our operations and bring Airtel to the people of Rwanda. We believe that Rwanda is an extremely promising market and this launch further strengthens our footprint in eastern Africa. It will be our endeavour to bring world-class and affordable services to our customers in Rwanda and add value to the economy. We would like to thank the Rwandan government for giving us this opportunity, and we are committed to contributing to their aim of bridging the digital divide in the country.”
“The government welcomes Airtel into our country. We are looking to partner with the private sector to provide good quality, accessible and affordable telecommunications services,” says Right Hon. Dr. Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, Prime Minister, Rwanda.
Hon. Dr. Habumuremyi added: “We are especially excited about the prospect of connecting Rwanda with the rest of the East African region and, indeed, with the rest of Africa. As Rwandans begin engaging in business ventures and looking for regional partners, telecommunications companies – like Airtel – that are able to provide access to a pan-African wireless network, become a crucial part of expansion.”
Airtel has also partnered with IBM in a move that will enable the teleco to offer superior customer experience in Rwanda. The partnership will see IBM deploy and manage the information technology (IT) infrastructure and applications to further support Airtel’s goal of providing innovative mobile service.
“As part of our strategic services agreement, we are happy to assist Airtel with its entry into the Rwandan market and ensure the very highest levels of support,” says Steve Martin, IBM Vice President and Senior Project Executive, Airtel Africa. “Rwanda is an important market for IBM and we are actively strengthening our local presence and increasing our ability to serve our customers and partners in the country.”
Airtel was awarded the license by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) last year to operate 2G and 3G GSM mobile services. Currently, the Airtel brand is present in both Francophone and Anglophone markets across the continent, spanning Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.