An international consortium named the Global Partnership for Ethiopia has been awarded a licence to operate telecom services in Ethiopia. The impact investment consortium aspires to support Ethiopia’s digital transformation and positively enhance the lives of its citizens. The partners in the consortium are led by Safaricom Plc, a partner member of the Vodafone Group. They will establish a new operating company in Ethiopia which aims to start providing telecommunications services from 2022. Besides Safaricom, the other players are: Vodacom Group, Sumitomo Corporation (one of the largest international trading and business investment companies) and CDC Group (UK’s development finance institution and impact investor).
Ethiopia 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.
The Global Partnership for Ethiopia was created to bring about transformational economic and social impact in the country. The provision of accessible, affordable and high-quality mobile and internet connectivity by the partnership will enable greater social inclusion as millions of Ethiopians access quality telecom services. Increased connectivity in Ethiopia will also boost the economy, impacting over one million jobs with digital training and skills. It will also bring about productivity improvements for countless micro-entrepreneurs as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Peter Ndegwa, the chief executive officer of Safaricom, said: “We are excited for the opportunity to work with the people of Ethiopia in setting 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.”