MultiChoice Remains Committed to Nigeria Amid Economic Turbulence


Despite facing severe economic challenges in Nigeria, MultiChoice Group has affirmed its commitment to the market.

The South African pay-television operator released its 2024 annual results on Wednesday, revealing that the Nigerian operation incurred over US$217 million in foreign exchange losses over the past year.

Nigeria is grappling with more than 30% inflation, driven by the crashing naira and the removal of fuel subsidies, which has significantly impacted consumer spending. As a result, many Nigerians are forced to prioritize essentials like food over entertainment.

MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela acknowledged the substantial forex losses in Nigeria, noting that the $217 million hit is four times greater than the combined losses of the past four financial years. However, Mawela remains optimistic about Nigeria’s future, expressing confidence in the policy changes implemented by the new government under President Bola Tinubu. These reforms, including the removal of the oil subsidy and allowing the market to dictate the naira’s value, are expected to stabilize the economy in the long term.

Mawela described the current situation as “short-term pain for long-term gain” and believes that with continued reforms, Nigeria’s economic conditions will improve. He also noted that there is some stability in terms of currency depreciation, and continued removal of the oil subsidy should benefit the economy and attract infrastructure investment.

The economic challenges in Nigeria have led to an 18% decline in active subscribers for MultiChoice, with Nigeria’s contribution to the “rest of Africa” revenues dropping from 44% to 35%. The group’s overall subscriber base declined by 9%, primarily due to a 13% decline in the “rest of Africa” segment, as many customers in Nigeria prioritize basic necessities over entertainment.

MultiChoice remitted US$184 million from Nigeria in the 2024 financial year, up from $132 million in 2023, despite the significant exchange rate fluctuations. The group held $39 million in cash in Nigeria at the end of the fiscal year, down from $104 million the previous year, reflecting the ongoing challenges and focus on remitting cash amidst the weaker naira.

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