ARAB-AFRICAN AFFAIRS - Feb. 12 - Africa Online Buys Egypt's MenaNet.
Such growth had raised concerns that Africa Online was expanding too fast. But commentators were encouraged by UK-based African Lakes' decision last week to take control of the company. Ayisi Makatiani, the CEO, concedes his company is not yet profitable overall - but says that is due to the cost of its expansion activities. Africa Online has 33,000 dial-up subscribers and revenues of $1.3m a month, but sees the greatest potential in its "e-touch" centres. These are essentially cybercafes targeting Africans who cannot afford their own computers. Its 714 bureaus have attracted 26,000 active users in the first 15 months of operations. The company has recently introduced payment smart-cards for the network, and is expanding the franchise. While Egypt might appear to be outside his traditional sphere of operations, Makatiani says it, and the Middle East as a whole, offers many of the same challenges and opportunities as sub-Saharan Africa. "Egypt has 60m people, and fewer than 100,000 users", he says. "E-touch will allow us to reach many more people").
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|Publication:||APS Diplomat Recorder|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Feb 17, 2001|
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