FILE PHOTO: A man stands next to the wall of a grocery shop painted with an advertisement for Bharti Airtel in Kochi
DAR ES SALAAM – The government of Tanzania and Bharti Airtel Limited, an Indian global telecommunications services company based in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday signed an agreement including raising the East African nation's shareholding in the mobile phone operator to 49 percent from 40 percent. 

A statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communication at State House in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam said the agreement was signed between Tanzania's Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Palamagamba Kabudi and Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal and witnessed by President John Magufuli. 

Before the agreement, the global telecommunication company owned shareholding of 60 percent. 

The statement said Bharti Airtel has also agreed to give dividends to the government of Tanzania to the tune of 10 billion Tanzanian shillings (about 4.4 million U.S. dollars) that Tanzania had not received for the past 10 years. 

According to the statement, Bharti Airtel has written off a debt amounting about 1 trillion Tanzanian shillings that Tanzania owed the telecom firm. Bharti Airtel will also contribute 2.3 billion Tanzanian shillings to social corporate responsibility. 

"The agreement has opened a new cooperation chapter between Bharti Airtel and Tanzania. This agreement has written new history," said Mittal. "This is the kind of investment that we prefer. Airtel has been in Tanzania for the past eight, nine years but the country was not benefiting," Magufuli said. 

XINHUA