The Brief: MTN Ghana Shares Rise 4% Following IPO, Releases New Digital Assistant


MTN Ghana’s Shares Increase By 4% Following IPO

MTN Ghana’s share price has seen 4% increase since listing on the Ghanaian Stock Exchange (GSE), this week. The company commenced trading Wednesday with the growth in equity adding to the overall value of the GSE, which stands at GH¢65 billion.

The surge in value came after MTN granted the public permission to apply for a 60-day initial public offer (IPO) finishing in July. The company, as a result, has 128,152 shareholders, with 127,653 identifying as retail investors, and more than 90% of the shareholders being Ghanaian. After the public offering which produced around a third of its initial 3.47 billion Ghanaian cedis ($734 million) target, the company started trading 1.5 million shares on the local exchange.

MTN Ghana’s achievement is an important moment as it is the largest Ghana IPO. According to the GSE Deputy Managing Director Ekow Afezia, this growth “…brings in liquidity, [and] greater participation, while introducing a very vibrant sector of the economy.”

In a radio interview with My Joy FM, MTN’s CEO, Selorm Adadevoh, stated that “Everyone who applied for shares got what they asked for.” He proceeded to explain the importance of investing and how he wanted to inform Ghanaians on this topic. He believes the IPO provided everyday Ghanaians with an opportunity to invest and learn about the process. Furthermore, the new IPO helped to “build relationships with customers and shareholders.”

MTN is the leading mobile operator in Ghana. The multinational company has secured 17.8 million voice subscribers, placing it above companies such as AirtelTigo and Nigeria-based Globacom.

Fintech Startup, Mines, Set To Extend to More African Markets

Recently, Nigerian Fintech startup, Mines, obtained a Series A funding round of  $13 million spear-headed by The Rise Fund (an international fund).

Established in 2014, Mines specialises in providing digital credit to institutions like banks, telecom and retailers in developing markets for their customers. The company utilises artificial intelligence algorithms through phone, bank and payment records to provide credit risk information to create an all-inclusive credit platform.

As the premier provider of customer credit in Nigeria, with more than one million customers, Mines plans to extend to new markets in Africa as well as Southeast Asia and Latin America.

The company has adopted a data-driven approach which means that you only require a phone number and an account. Despite this development, the company is determined to continue creating a better product-market fit. According to the Managing Director, Adia Sowho, “Developing advanced technology is difficult, but understanding how to apply the technology to real consumer challenges in the emerging market environment is even more difficult”.

“We are pure technologists at the core and had to adapt our thinking to the nuances of the local business and consumer landscape in order for the product to work well.”

Ekechi Nwokah and Chief Scientist, Kunle Olukotun, formed Mines while residing in the United States. They realised that access to finance was an issue in Nigeria and decided to utilise mobiles because of its wide usage and the opportunity to develop a new market driven by mobile credit.

Nigerian Startup Release Artificial Intelligence Digital Assistant

Based in Nigeria, recently released a digital assistant called Emily.

Integrated into their new app, Emily offers customer care by responding to customer queries and reviews. Alongside the AI feature, human customer care workers also deal with customer requests via written responses.

The debate surrounding the use of AI is polarising, with some embracing its technological benefits and others concerned with its potential to displace real workers. Though there are many concerns, when used ethically, this form of technology has immense benefits and, as in the case of Emily, it is something that can be used as an aid to a human workforce, as opposed to it being a replacement for one. Chief Operations Officer, Philia Mic-Julius, offered some comments about Emily and how it reflects efforts to establishing an even better Digital Nigeria. “Emily is an in-app assistant for the digital ecosystem. We released it as part of our continuous effort to create a better user experience for our users.

“Emily’s impact will be the conversion of a visitor to an active user because Emily’s approach is friendly and answers the users’ questions on what they would like to do on,” he said.

As a continent, Africa has witnessed a steady proliferation of AI technology. Google recently opened its first AI research centre in Africa based in Accra, Ghana. Furthermore, Nigerian doctors utilise machine learning to detect birth asphyxia – the third largest cause of childhood mortality.

So far, AI’s impact across many sectors has been positive and transformative.