No. 161: 3AMReads: MTN Shareholders Aren’t Happy With Exec Pay | Nigeria Has Its Own Data Centers | Cape Town Has Virtually No Water

Kudos to Kenya on launching its new passenger rail connecting Nairobi to Mombasa earlier today. Would be nice to have something like this connecting Atlanta and Savannah!

Tech Central: MTN Slammed Over Bosses’ Millions

A significant portion of MTN’s shareholders expressed their displeasure with the telecom giant’s executive pay packages in light of the company’s declining performance. The only executive receiving a bonus is Executive Chairman Phuthuma Nhleko who returned to the company after a long career at the company when the CEO who succeeded him abruptly resigned.

One of the big sighs of relief for the company was Nhleko leading the company through reducing a massive $5B fine the Nigerian government levied against the company to $1.7B for failing to disconnect well over 5 million people who weren’t subscribed to the company. Former US Attorney General Eric Holder negotiated the deal, which is interesting to write about today, as later today he will be delivering a report to Uber’s board of directors on the spate of sexual harassment allegations the company has been dealing with.

Anyway, Nhleko was the only executive to receive a bonus – nearly $3M, in addition to his $2M salary. I think that is well deserved even if he was being rated just for reducing the company’s fine.

IT News Africa: Rack Centre MD Believes in Nigeria’s Growth Potential

Last week, I wrote about Microsoft announcing that it was constructing two data centers in South Africa. Here’s a nice interview with Ayotunde Coker, Managing Director of Rack Centre, a Nigeria-based data center company that sounds like it’s pulling its weight in the cloud space. Let’s see how they compete with Microsoft Azure!

Engineering News: Cape Town Mayor Warns of ‘Catastrophic Crisis’ if Water Runs Out

Earlier today, Patricia de Lille, Cape Town’s Mayor spoke before the City Council providing a clear picture of how little water the city has available to use. What’s frustrating about this situation is the number of companies that have tried to find solutions to the water challenge in Cape Town and other parts of South Africa, in particular, using desalination techniques. The city has been dealing with low water levels for over a decade. Let’s hope the city figures out a solution sooner than later. It would be great to see desalination companies be able to scale in the country. I wonder how much engagement city has had with Israel and the U.A.E.

No. 148: Three AM Reads: MTN Keeps Eye on Iran | Senegal’s Got Gas| Taxing Entertainers and Athletes

MTN Signs Non-Binding Agreement to Invest in Iranian Net

South Africa-based MTN Group continues to set its sights on participating in Iran’s fast growing telecoms industry, with this preliminary move to place nearl $40M in Iranian Net for a 49.5% stake in the company. MTN has growing stakes in Iran, with its minority ownership of Irancell, though MTN had slowed its expansion efforts in Iran due to US sanctions preventing the company from repatriating around $1B in revenue from its stake in Iran’s telecoms space. Now that those sanctions have lifted, we can expect to see more such deals in Iran.

BP and Kosmos Discover Large Gas Well Off Coast of Senegal

BP must feel good about committing $1B to exploring for gas off the coasts of Senegal and Mauritania. The two companies found a well estimated to contain around 15 trillion cubic square feet of gas. Needless to say, the two companies will keep looking for more gas.

Deloitte Outlines Nigeria’s Tax Policy for Entertainers and Athletes 

I’m sure non-resident Nigerians who go back to Nigeria to perform were not happy to hear about this case Deloitte makes for Nigeria to figure out its taxation policy for non-resident Nigerians in order to take advantage of another potential revenue stream for the country.