By Shitemi Khamadi
Safaricom which is part of the Global Partnership for Ethiopia and owns 55.7 percent of the consortium is targeting to start operations in Ethiopia in 2022.
In a statement welcoming the approval of the license award by the Ethiopian government, the telco announced that they see the consortium creating over one million jobs, with digital training and skills, and bringing about productivity improvements for countless micro-entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises.
Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom, said “We are excited for the opportunity to work with the people of Ethiopia to set up telecom networks to deliver a digital lifestyle. In past years, we have seen the power of digital transformation and its impact on our customers. We believe by working with all stakeholders in Ethiopia, we can deliver a similar transformation while achieving a sustainable return to our shareholders.”
Global Partnership for Ethiopia brings together Vodacom Group, Vodafone Group, Sumitomo Corporation – one of the largest international trading and business investment companies; and CDC Group – the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor.
Sumitomo Corporation has 27.2 percent shares, Vodacom 6.2 percent and CDC Group has 10.9 percent shares.
The consortium is optimistic that the impact investment consortium will seek to support Ethiopia’s digital transformation and positively enhance the lives of its citizens.
The consortium will establish a new operating company in Ethiopia
With over USD 8 billion total investment, this will be the single largest FDI into Ethiopia to date.
Our desire to take Ethiopia fully digital is on track. I would like to thank all that have taken part in this and for pulling off a very transparent and effective process! 2/2 pic.twitter.com/8NZkkz9jzX
— Abiy Ahmed Ali 🇪🇹 (@AbiyAhmedAli) May 22, 2021
The country is home to over 112 million people, making it the second-largest country in Africa by population. It is one of the last countries in the world to introduce competition in the telecom industry, a rigorous process started by the government in 2019 as part of its Economic Reform Agenda, with the support of the International Finance Corporation.
The reforms aim to increase jobs, reduce poverty and grow the local economy in an inclusive and sustainable manner.
Shameel Joosub, CEO, Vodacom Group, said the consortium partners have a great track record for delivering transformative technology services, particularly when it comes to health, education and agriculture, built on quality telecom networks. “We want to make a real difference to the lives of Ethiopians through promoting widespread digital inclusion as part of Vodacom’s pledge to connect the next 100 million Africans by 2025.”