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Ethiopia signs landmark telecom licensing deal

The Ethiopian Communication Authority and Global Partnership for Ethiopia Wednesday signed the historic telecom licensing agreement, marking the end of…

The Ethiopian Communication Authority and Global Partnership for Ethiopia Wednesday signed the historic telecom licensing agreement, marking the end of the country’s state telecom monopoly.The Global Partnership for Ethiopia, a consortium, which includes Vodafone, Vodacom, Safaricom, Sumitomo Corporation, and the CDC Group, won the bid offering $850 million.

The agreement was part the government’s commitment to liberalize the telecommunication sector by opening for both domestic and foreign investments. 

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who attended the licensing agreement with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, described it as “a major policy shift in Ethiopia”

The move will create jobs for 1.5 million citizens and activate over $8 billion in domestic investment, a statement said.

The country’s Council of Ministers two weeks ago also unanimously decided to expedite tasks that would enable the issuance of the second telecom license through the Ethiopian Communication Authority.

In mid-2018, Ethiopia floated the partial privatization of the country’s giant telecom through sale of two licenses for prospective international operators.

“With over $8 billion total investment, this will be the single largest FDI [foreign direct investment] into Ethiopia to date. 

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