London – 7 June 2021 – Africell has announced the appointment of Ambassador J. Peter Pham to the Group’s Board of Directors. The appointment boosts Africell’s expansion strategy and reinforces the company’s status as the leading US-owned mobile network operator in Africa.
Ambassador Pham is a recognized global authority on Africa. In addition to being a non-executive director of Africell Group, he is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank, where prior to his recent government service he had been Director of the Africa Center and Vice President for Research and Regional Initiatives. Between 2018 – 2021, Ambassador Pham was a senior diplomat and policymaker at the US Department of State. He served first as US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, encompassing Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Angola, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya; and then as US Special Envoy for the Sahel with the personal rank of Ambassador, responsible for a region encompassing not only Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, but also the West African coastal states from Senegal to Cameroon. In these roles, Ambassador Pham was directly mandated by the US Secretary of State to coordinate and implement regional US policy on economic, political, and humanitarian issues.
In May 2019, Africell and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC, then known as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, OPIC) agreed a $100 million loan facility, in a partnership reflecting the US government’s strategic goal to deepen US investment in Africa and support US businesses operating in high-growth sectors of the African economy. Africell is the only US-owned mobile communications operator in Africa and is the first to receive financing from DFC.
Africell currently operates telecommunications networks in Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Uganda. In February 2021, Africell won an international public tender process to launch a new network in Angola. Angola is one of the biggest economies in sub-Saharan Africa with a population of over 30 million people, and the move to award Africell a universal electronic communications license was driven by the Angolan government’s desire to accelerate Angola’s economic performance and give consumers better access to world class mobile technologies and other value-added services. The terms of Africell’s investment from DFC were amended in May 2021 to bring the transformational Angola opportunity within its scope.
Africell’s Chairman and CEO Ziad Dalloul said: “We are thrilled to welcome Ambassador Pham to Africell. He is a top expert on Africa and brings a unique blend of experience from his eminent academic career and his position as an influential Africa-focused US policymaker. As the only US-owned mobile network operator in Africa, Africell is setting an example for what can be achieved by international investors on the continent if they have the right people, vision, strategy and attitude. Appointing Ambassador Pham to Africell’s board is testament to the scale of our ambitions, and we expect his impressive standing, expertise and network in Africa to help our business capitalize on the extraordinary growth opportunities emerging in Angola and our other markets.”
Ambassador J. Peter Pham said: “Africell operates at the forefront of the telecommunications sector in Africa. My experience serving in Africa tells me that it is a continent worth investing in – and I believe that developing its private sector is key to unlocking its enormous potential. Africell is an illuminating case study for how US and other international companies can achieve sustainable growth in Africa through bold investments and transparent business activities. I am pleased to be joining Africell Group’s board because it has proven that it is a company which has a positive long-term impact not only on its direct customers, but also on the wider communities and societies in which it works.”