MTN Plays Safe on Celtel Deal

Published on 10th May 2005

IREN Wins Excellence Award


A month ago, the Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) Kenya won the 2005 Templeton Freedom Award Grant for Institute Excellence. This award is sponsored by Atlas Economic Research Foundation that recognizes outstanding work by think-tanks, as well as those who show great promise for creating a climate of opinion favorable to the institutions of freedom.

The Managing Director, Mr John Templeton, said: “All these think-tanks operate independently and speak in their own voice.” On 3 May 2005, Mr James Shikwati, the Director of IREN Kenya, received the award in the USA. IREN Kenya is an independent, non profit, non partisan research and educational organization that analyses and promotes policies that further the creation of a free and prosperous society in Kenya and Africa.

Its products include: Annual East Africa Media Training, African Resource Bank, The African Executive magazine, Research and Publications and University Entrepreneurship projects.

The annual award is meant to inspire the adoption of best operating practices, more concentrated efforts towards effective public relations and other efforts reflective of greater effectiveness among think-tanks.

The Templeton Freedom Awards are given to 15 institutes per year. Winners are recognized in the first quarter of the year and publicly recognized at Atlas annual Liberty Forum event. In Africa two organizations won the award, IREN Kenya, and Institute of Public Policy Analysis (IPPA) Nigeria.


Business Confidence Falls


HARARE - Zimbabwe\'s business confidence has plumbed new laws as the government\'s efforts to turn around the embattled economy have sparked a fresh wave of food, fuel and foreign currency shortages, analysts said on Monday. \"The latest shortages and the government\'s response have knocked down business confidence to such a low level, maybe the lowest level we have seen in the past year,\" said leading private economic consultant John Robertson.

The economy has been in recession for the last six years, a decline critics blame on President Robert Mugabe\'s fiscal policies, including the seizure of white-owned farms, which has disrupted the country\'s important commercial agricultural sector. In the past year the economy seemed to be headed for recovery under a turnaround program driven by central bank governor Gideon Gono, which saw inflation slowing down to 130% in January from over 620% the year before.


MTN Plays Safe on Celtel Deal


JOHANNESBURG - Africa\'s biggest cell phone operator, said that it had not yet made a decision on how it will react to smaller rival Celtel\'s sale to Kuwait\'s MTC on Monday A source close to MTN said last week that MTN planned to sue Celtel for around $700 million on damages for ditching what it alleges was an agreed $2.7 billion takeover. \"MTN shareholders are advised that MTN has not finally decided on any course of action regarding the dealings between MTN and Celtel and (Celtel Chairman) Dr. (Mohammed) Ibrahim,\" MTN said in a statement to the Johannesburg bourse on Monday.  The source had said last week that MTN, Africa\'s biggest mobile operator by sales, would seek damages and in the best case scenario -- albeit a fairly unlikely one -- it hoped to reverse the $3.3-billion MTC deal so it could take over Netherlands - based Celtel itself.  Analysts say Celtel, which operates in 13 sub-Saharan countries, would make a good complementary buy for MTN and ensure it did not fall prey to foreign players attracted by burgeoning growth in the continent.


Telekom Settles Dispute With Ghana


KUALA LUMPUR - Telekom Malaysia Bhd says it has agreed to settle an arbitration claim against the government of Ghana that sought to force it to buy back the Malaysian firm\'s share of Ghana Telecommunications. Telekom Malaysia, which has been selling down stakes in overseas firms to focus on markets closer to home, had filed an international arbitration claim seeking to force Ghana to buy back its 30 percent stake and pay it another $124 million. Telekom has tried to sell its stake in Ghana\'s biggest telecoms operator back to the Ghanaian government after its contract to run the West African firm ended. Telekom paid $38 million for the stake in 1997. The claim was filed with the arbitration court in the Hague last October and is expected to be resolved in July. Telekom, Malaysia\'s largest fixed-line provider, said last year the Ghana government had agreed to pay it $50 million as part of a wider dispute over investments in the West African country.


Sudan in Oil Market Talks


SINGAPORE - Sudan is in discussions with European traders Vitol, Trafigura and Arcadia to market its new heavy sweet Dar Blend crude, a senior government official said. Sudan will choose a company before August, when exports of the new grade start. \"Vitol, Trafigura and Arcadia gave their presentations. Others declined, maybe because of the difficulty of the crude,\" Hamed Elneel Abdel Gadeir, deputy secretary general, Ministry of Energy and Mining, SudanesePetroleum Corp. (Sudapet), told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference. Heavy sweet Dar Blend crude is due to come on stream in July in the Melut basin on blocks 3 and 7, in the southeast of the country, with an initial output of 140,000 barrels per day, and reach 200,000 bpd before the end of the year.


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