Bharti Airtel is cutting a significant percentage of its staff in Africa this year, with the figure likely to be around 15-20%.
The operator entered Africa in 2010 but has not seen any significant profits from the venture, and is now trying to reverse its fortunes in the region. Having divested a number of its towers, the operator is now cutting between 700 and 800 of its tower employees across the next 6 months.
In addition, the contracts of 20 senior executives are nearing their close, while a further 6 have already left the company over the past 2 months. Airtel has stated that “most of these positions aren’t being replaced”, adding that “based on various functional requirements, certain employees were either relocated to or hired at Airtel Africa for a specific period”.
Airtel has sold off infrastructure in 5 African countries and plans to divest assets in a further 6 markets. The purchasing entity has already taken on a large amount of Airtel’s former tower employees, while others are will be transferred once the upcoming deals close.
The downsizing comes swiftly after news that Orange may acquire four of Airtel’s African units in francophone markets Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone. This would allow Airtel a “sharper focus” on the remainder of its African operations.