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Zain seeking expansion into North Africa

Kuwait’s Zain is seeking to expand in North Africa by taking controlling stakes in companies or winning management contracts in the region, Reuters has reported. This marks a reversal of Zain’s strategy after it sold most of its Africa assets to India’s Bharti Airtel for $9bn in 2010, and attempted unsuccessfully to offload its stake in Saudi affiliate Zain Saudi in 2011. “North Africa looks very interesting and there are always opportunities coming up. We are looking across the board, whether it is Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco – increasing our stake there would be interesting for us,” said Zain’s chief executive, Scott Gegenheimer. Zain has a 15.5% stake in Moroccan mobile operator ‘inwi’ but otherwise is not present in North Africa.