Ian Ferrao, former Vodacom Tanzania MD, to head Airtel operations in East Africa

Airtel Africa has announced the appointment of Ian Ferrao as Regional Director of its East Africa business. Ian Ferrao has more than 12 years of experience in senior management telecoms roles in Africa.

Prior to joining Airtel Africa, he was the CEO of Vodacom Tanzania, the CEO of Vodacom Lesotho and Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at Vodacom Business Africa. He holds a First Class Honours Degree in BSc Management Sciences from the Warwick Business School.

(TOP: Ian Ferrao, the former Vodacom Tanzania MD who has joined Airtel as head of East Africa operations).

Commenting on this appointment, Raghunath Mandava, Airtel Africa’s CEO, said: “We are excited to welcome Ian as Regional Director for East Africa, which includes Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda. He brings a wealth of relevant telecoms and mobile money experience within the region and will be an asset to the business. He will be part of the Africa Executive Committee based in Nairobi and will focus on driving growth across voice, data and mobile money in East Africa.”

Ferrao’s appointment comes at a time when Airtel Kenya is working on a merger with Telkom, a development that was announced in February this year but is currently facing a number of hurdles, with various quarters opposed to the deal.

Among those who have expressed their misgivings about the potential merger are Kenya’s Parliament, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), former Telkom Kenya employees, and most recently, telcoms industry market leader Safaricom that has filed its objections with industry regulator Communication Authority of Kenya (CA).

And this week, Telkom Kenya accused Safaricom of standing on the way of its merger with Airtel Kenya. At a news conference, Telkom Kenya MD Mugo Kibati said Safaricom on August 31 wrote to the CA not to approve the merger over concerns it wants to address.

“We have no problem with our colleagues at Safaricom, what they should probably know is that we are just trying to restructure our business,” said Kibati. “It is unfortunate that Safaricom wants to revise deal that will offer consumers credible options, does Safaricom don’t want to see the sector grow, are they wary of competition and even more precisely wary of choice, competitive pricing and value for money for the consumer.”

Kibati noted that in a stunted market, which will be a result of the deal not progressing, competitive pricing does not exist due to the existence of single play.

Airtel Africa has a presence in 14 countries in Africa, primarily in East Africa and Central and West Africa. The firm, owned by Bharti of India, offers an integrated suite of telecommunications solutions to its subscribers, including mobile voice and data services as well as mobile money services both nationally and internationally.

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