Kenya’s Safaricom Seeking Partner for $1bln Ethiopia Licence Bid

ADDIS ABEBA – Michael Joseph, interim CEO of Kenyan operator Safaricom, said the company wants to bid for a telecoms license in Ethiopia in partnership with Vodacom and other companies.

Safaricom, which is 35% owned by Vodacom, also issued a statement to the Nairobi Securities Exchange saying that it is looking for partners for the Ethiopian venture.

Safaricom has “not yet made a decision on the source of funding because the constitution of the consortium has not been finalized,” Joseph was quoted by Nairobi’s Business Daily newspaper as saying.

He told the paper that Safaricom wants to be part of a joint bid because of the likely high entry costs.
The company put the cost at about $1 billion in license fees and network costs.

“It’s a consortium because it’s a big investment. I cannot provide names,” he told the paper.

Ethiopia has made a number of moves to introduce competition into the telecoms market and to privatize the current monopoly operator, Ethio Telecom.

Safaricom said it will make an offer to Ethiopia by April 2020, though Ethiopia has set a deadline of 22 November 2020 for companies to show interest in a telecoms license. Ethiopia has said it will award licenses by April 2021.

Image: (From Left) Interim CEO of Safaricom Michael Joseph, board chairman Nicholas Nga’ng’a and Chief Financial Officer Sateesh Kamath [Photo File/NMG] 

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