The Ministry of Finance of Ethiopia and
Ethiopian Communications Authority
Welcome the Award of New Telecommunications
License to the Global Partnership for Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, 22 May 2021 - The Ministry of Finance and the Ethiopian Communications Authority warmly welcome the award of one new telecommunications license to the Global Partnership for Ethiopia a private consortium of Safaricom (Kenya), Vodafone Group (UK), Vodacom Group (South Africa), CDC Group (UK), and Sumitomo Corporation (Japan), and Development Finance Corporation (US-DFC) today, reflecting a major external investment into Ethiopia and its telecommunications market, and an end to more than a century of state monopoly.
“Today marks a decisive day for our economic reform path in Ethiopia. With the liberalization of the telecom market through a fair and transparent process, the government enables every Ethiopian to access quality services at an affordable price,” said Finance Minister Ahmed Shide upon the announcement.
The selection of one winner completes a transparent process that began in October 2020 to open Ethiopia’s telecom market to operators beyond Ethio Telecom, the publicly-owned national telecom company. At the end of April 2021, Ethiopian Communications Authority announced that two consortia had submitted proposals: a consortium of Safaricom (Kenya), Vodafone Group (UK), Vodacom Group (South Africa), CDC Group (UK), and Sumitomo Corporation (Japan), and Development Finance Corporation (US-DFC), as well as the South African telecommunications giant MTN Group Limited, supported by the Silk Road Fund, a Chinese investment fund.
Subsequent to the announcement of the decision by the Government to Ethiopia, ECA Director General, Eng. Balcha Reba said “This decision ushers in a new era of telecom service development in our country which will benefit millions of Ethiopians to have access to quality and reliable communication services. Global Partnership for Ethiopia is a consortium of reputable telecom companies providing service to over 750 million customers all over the world and committed to create new jobs, support the economy through introduction of new and efficient services. I am also very pleased the consortium will invest 8 billion USD over the next 10 years.”
The entry of a new operator signals the government’s commitment to the reform agenda introduced two years ago as part of the Homegrown Economic Reform Program, an ambitious and far-reaching package of economic reforms aiming to transform Ethiopia’s economy to create millions of jobs through private-sector-led growth, to develop manufacturing and other sectors, and to encourage foreign direct investment.