August 17, 2007
Darfur the telecoms market
Still away - but Reuters just published the feature I was working on when I left.
As other firms exit, phone companies enter Sudan
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Bright yellow banners sprang up overnight along the banks of the Nile then spread along the ten-lane highways and crowded market streets of Sudan's traffic-clogged capital, Khartoum.
They were the first steps in a campaign by South Africa's MTN to stake a claim in one of Africa's last big undeveloped mobile phone markets.
Foreign investors have steered clear of Sudan in recent years, following the international uproar over the crisis in Darfur and subsequent strengthening of U.S. sanctions against Khartoum.
Britain's Rolls Royce announced plans to pull out in April, joining Germany's Siemens, Switzerland's ABB and Canada's CHC Helicopter in the queue to exit.
But the newly booming telecoms market in the oil-rich east African country has proved too tempting for mobile phone companies to resist. For them, the vast expanses of Sudan's western Darfur region are not so much a disaster zone as one more unexploited mobile phone market waiting to be tapped.
Posted by aheavens at August 17, 2007 11:22 AM