Tigo Senegal, the country’s second-largest mobile operator behind Orange, has been bought by Wari Group for US$129 million, reports from the capital Dakar said.
Established in 2008 by CSI, Wari is a popular platform for digital financial services in Senegal. Its green logo cannot be ignored because it is displayed almost everywhere across Senegal: in shops, private homes, cars, buses, billboards and markets. Many Senegalese use it on a daily basis to pay their bills, and receive and send money.
Its takeover of Tigo has reportedly been seen as a matter of national pride in this West African nation of 15 million people, who consider the deal as the greatest business event of the year.
“We have created this Wari platform to fight financial exclusion in Senegal but we thought that connectivity was lacking to take this project to another level. However, with the takeover of Tigo, we aim to create a Wari community that will allow people to benefit from more services and to be even more comfortable in their daily lives,” French radio RFI quoted Wari Senegal CEO Kabirou Mbodje as saying.
Tigo is a subsidiary of Millicom International Cellular (MIC), a company based in Luxemburg. MIC also sold Tigo DRC to French IT giant Orange last year in a deal worth 16 billion euros.
It remains unclear why MIC continues to sell its Tigo operations in Africa. Some industry watchers have claimed that the brand seems to be struggling to consolidate its gains in several African markets.
In Tanzania for instance, where Tigo seems to have made inroads in terms of connectivity, mobile money and market share, many mobile users often complain about its ‘slow’ and ‘on and off’ internet connection.