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Bharti to focus on rural communities in Nigeria

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Manoj Kohli is the CEO & Joint Managing Director of Bharti Airtel Limited. (Image credit World Economic Forum photostream)
Bharti Airtel has committed itself to empowering rural communities with affordable telecommunications services.
The Indian telecom company, which now holds a controlling stake in Zain Nigeria, said it will be the rural network of Nigeria and will provide high quality service at purse friendly rate for this segment of the society which is presently underserved.
Manoj Kohli, Chief Executive Officer, Bharti Airtel Africa, unfolded the plans during the week when he announced the assumption of management of Zain Nigeria following the acquisition of Zain Africa assets by Bharti International.
According to Kohli, Africa with a population of over 1 billion people deserved a better teledensity than presently is the case. He said Bharti will aim to increase the teledensity from the present 20% to 50% in the next six years, saying that “Africa is the growth market and Nigeria is the Jewel of Africa.”
Manoj Kohli informed that it was the desire of Bharti to serve the interest of the rural population with affordable but qualitative telephony service in the years ahead.
Comparing average minute of use (MoU) across various countries, Manoj noted that Nigeria has the lowest rate in the world, with an average of 50-60 minutes, stressing that the prevailing low rate indicates that customers are not expressing themselves properly.
He said Bharti intends to raise the rate to 500-600minutes, thus giving Nigerians a greater opportunity to talk and express themselves without feeling inhibited by high tariff.
Manoj explained that it is Bharti is of the view that customers in Nigeria deserved freedom to express themselves feely at a competitive rate.
Also speaking at the forum, the Managing Director, Zain Nigeria, Rajan Swaroop said efforts will be made to encourage their business partners abroad to come into Nigeria, invest and provide employment opportunities to Nigerians.
Swaroop said it was symbolic bringing the Bharti brand to Nigeria at its 50th anniversary, emphasising that Bharti will make an investment of 600 Million Dollars (90 Billion Naira) in the next three years including 300 Million Dollars (45 Billion Naira) to be spent in the next 12 months.
Zain Nigeria, one of the leading operators in Nigeria, was recently acquired by Bharti Airtel of India for 10.7 billion Dollars, making it the 5th largest mobile operator in the world.

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