Libya buys majority stake in Chad telecoms firm

Tue Nov 2, 2010 6:20am GMT
 

By Salah Sarrar

N'DJAMENA (Reuters) - Libyan state-owned firm LAP Green Network signed a deal on Monday to buy a majority stake in Chad's Sotel telecoms firm for $90 million, the latest in a series of African investments by Libya.

The Libyan firm, which is owned by sovereign wealth fund the Libyan African Investment Portfolio, owns or controls telecoms operations in eight African countries.

The deal to buy a 60 percent stake in state-owned Sotel Tchad, was signed during a visit to Chad by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who is there to attend a conference on Africa's dwindling water resources.

"The value of the contract which was signed today during the Libyan leader's ... visit is $90 million," LAP Green Network Managing Director Abdulbaset Elazzabi told Reuters.

He said his firm would develop Chad's mobile and fixed line networks and planned to connect Chad to fiber optic cables, which would make high-speed Internet and mobile phone data services more widely available.

Libya emerged from decades of international isolation when sanctions were lifted six years ago and has since then used revenue from oil exports to accumulate about $65 billion in its sovereign wealth funds.

The funds have bought some European assets, primarily in Italy, and have also poured millions of dollars into acquisitions in sub-Saharan Africa.

Gaddafi, anointed "king of kings" by a group of African traditional leaders, has said he is prepared to give billions of dollars to countries on the continent to help them form a United States of Africa and shake off Western influence.

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