Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Burundi - Govt to privatise Onatel the incumbent operator, with support from the World Bank

[telegeography] The government of Burundi plans to privatise its state-owned national fixed, mobile and internet service provider Office National des Telecommunications (Onatel) before the end of the year. The move is the latest attempt by the government to sell off a stake in the operator, which faces intense competition in its home market. In January 2009 a presidential decree was adopted authorising the sale of part of the state's shares in Onatel, and three months later Burundi’s Transport and Telecommunications Minister Philippe Njoni told reporters that the government hoped to privatise the PTO by the end of the year in order to make it more competitive. That date came and went, but in a new initiative the government has now appointed Projet de Development des Secteurs Financier et Prive (PDSFP), a World Bank funded project, to handle the privatisation. PDSFP began operations in Burundi in April 2010, replacing the Economic Management Support Project (PAGE), which wound up its operations earlier that year.

Onatel is a 100% state-owned company that offers fixed line and internet services and also provides GSM services through its ONAMOB unit, launched in 2004. It currently competes with five telecom companies mainly offering GSM cellular communications and internet service provision.

Government to privatise Onatel in 2011

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