Why Africell is Closing Shop in Uganda


Kampala | RedPepper Digital – Africell Group; one of the players in the telecommunication industry, has announced that it will close shop in Uganda and cease operation in the country in October 2021.

According to an internal memo to staff that was leaked; a copy of which this publication has seen, the Company will wind down business on 7th October 2021, and the employees have until 30th November 2021, when they will cease to be employees of the company.

The management attributes the decision to close down shop to an assessment that was done by the company several months to go on its future in the Ugandan telecommunication space, and findings showed that there was a limited business opportunity to achieve the future prospects according to the memo.

“We have therefore taken the difficult decision to permanently end Africell UG’s operations in Uganda. This decision is being made in the long-term interests of the Ugandan Telecoms sector, however, it has an immediate impact on many people,” the memo read in part.

The company also ceased registering new customers on the network as of 6th September 2021 (Monday) all through the month of October, and they will be helping their current customers switch to other operators.

“After careful consideration, Africell group has decided to leave Uganda and focus on other opportunities for social and commercial impact. Doing so is the most sustainable way to fulfil our overall mission to advance the African telecom sector. Although Africell regrets the immediate impact this decision will have, we believe it is a justified long term transition and we are closely supporting affected employees and customers,” the memo reads on the reason why they are closing shop.

The company has also pledged to see that her staff are paid to zero balance in terms of repatriation where possible, and severance pay among other arrangements that the company could have with the current employees.

Africell joins the never-ending list of other multinational businesses that have in the past closed shop in the country including Kenyan supermarket chains Uchumi (closed in 2016), Nakumatt (closed in 2017) and Tuskys (closed in 2020), and South African owned discount clothing retailer Pep stores closed shop in December 2020. The most recent announcements to close shop in Uganda were of South African chain stores Shoprite and Game stores all due to unfavourable business climate that have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic economic shock wave, that has brought many businesses locally, regionally and globally to their knees.

Africell entered the Uganda market in 2014 following the purchase of Orange; a French-owned telecommunication giant.

About Africell Group

Africell was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in London, United Kingdom. The company has approximately 10,000 direct and outsourced employees and currently operates in four countries – The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. Africell will launch operations in a fifth country, Angola, in 2021

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