Top Govt Officials Review Telecom License Bidding Process

ADDIS ABABA – Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed met with officials of the Telecom sector regulator and members of telecom privatization advisory council to review the ongoing telecom license bidding process.

Thursday’s review meeting took place weeks after Ethiopia received two bids, from South Africa’s MTN and a consortium including Kenya’s Safaricom, for new telecoms operating licenses.

The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has provided “a very detailed review” of the telecom license bidding process, said Prime Minister Abiy, after the meeting.

“Today’s meeting provided a transparent account of the process and solicited inputs for the Council of Ministers to weigh in making a decision that puts Ethiopia’s Vision for Prosperity and growth aspirations at the forefront,” the prime minister said.

Initially, the government was expected to announce winners of the license within a week or two from the day it received the official bids.

Authorities, however, are yet to reveal the outcome of their technical and financial evaluation of the two bids.

They have not ruled out scrapping the entire process if bidders don’t meet the target.

On the day the Telecom Bid Opened, Balcha Reba, director general of the sector regulator ERA, said he was confident the bidding process will ensure that “Ethiopia gets the best deal”.

“We will select the winners after technical and financial evaluation is completed,” Balcha said.

The government may award one or two licences and has the right to cancel the bidding process, he also added.

The licences will pave the way to open up Ethiopia’s telecoms industry, which is considered the big prize in the country’s push to liberalise the economy.

Featured Image: Balcha Reba, director general of the Ethiopian Communications Authority, briefing participants of Thursday’s review meeting. [Photo PMoE]