Uhuru Kenyatta and Abiy Ahmed
President Abiy (R) hosted President Kenyatta at the ceremony in Addis AbabaImage caption: President Abiy (R) hosted President Kenyatta at the ceremony in Addis Ababa
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, on Tuesday, witnessed the official awarding of a telecommunications licence to a consortium of private companies in Addis Ababa.
The consortium will be the only privately owned mobile services provider, as Ethiopia seeks to liberalise the economy.
The issuance of an operating licence is the first step in a journey expected to give Ethiopians an alternative to state-owned monopoly Ethiotelecom.
The two leaders termed the event monumental for Ethiopia.
The consortium is led by Kenya’s Safaricom which will own a 52% stake in the new business.
Safaricom’s parent company Vodacom, plus Vodafone, Sumitomo Corporation from Japan and CDC Group also form part of the consortium.
The companies won the bidding process in May, edging out a rival consortium led by South Africa’s MTN Group, with the backing of Chinese investors.
The deal opens up more than $8bn (£5bn) worth of investment in 4G and 5G network across the country.
The Global partnership for Ethiopia further projects that up to 1.5 million jobs will be created.