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Vietnam is now considering 9mobile as a possible entry channel into Nigeria’s ICT market

by Milicent Atieno

Vietnam, there is one Asian country you often don’t hear about when talking about Asia countries investing in Africa. Well, it seems the Viet do not want to be left behind their ‘Asian big tigers’ like China, Japan, South Korea, and India.

Vietnam through its Deputy Prime Minister, Vuong Dinh Huê has made its interest to invest in Africa’s most populous market, Nigeria, known. Huê says the country is particularly interested in investing in Nigeria’s telecommunication space through the state-owned telecom Viettel.

At the last Viettel AGM, the telecom confirmed it is interested in expanding into the West African country. Though initially, the company was considering to compete for a tender in acquiring a telecommunication operating license from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). It now appears, Viettel might be taking a different route of getting into the Nigerian telecom market space.

Viettel is said to be now considering the option of buying out 9mobile, a mobile service carrier currently operational in Nigeria but crippled with loans following the exit of Etisalat, one of its former shareholders. 9mobile is indeed in the market looking for new owners, and this presents an excellent opportunity for Viettel if it buys the stake left behind by Etisalat exit.

The Nigerian market has a potential customer base of 350 million. Entering this market could potentially be lucrative for Viettel, which is currently on an expansion drive across Asia, Africa, and the Americas. By the end of 2017, Viettel is said will have spent about $2.23 billion in its foreign expansion drives.

The Vietnamese telecom currently has a presence in four African countries; Burundi, Cameroon, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

Huê said, “Vietnam is interested in the development of bilateral trade relations and encourages businessmen of both countries to invest in telecommunications and information technology.”

Huê further said that his country is mainly looking forward to enhancing multi-trade relations with Nigeria, a country it considers a critical investment opportunity in Africa. On its part, Nigeria says it needs more investors in the telecommunication industry, to expand its broadband penetration, which is estimated to reach 21-30% by 2018.

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