Consortium Officials Speak after Winning Ethiopia’s Telecom License Bid

ADDIS ABABA – Officials of firms that constituted Global Partnership for Ethiopia (GPE) vow to play a significant role in the development of the East African Nation after securing operating license on Saturday.

The winning consortium consists of Vodafone of UK, Safaricom of Kenya, Vodacom of South Africa, Sumitomo Corporation of Japan, UK’s development finance institution or CDC Group and U.S.’s International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

The grouping will establish a joint venture. Outlays are projected to top $8 billion over 10 years, including capital investment for base stations. Services are expected to start in 2022.

Director general of sector regulator Ethiopian Communications Authority, Balcha Reba said the decision to open the market “ushers in a new era of telecom service development in our country which will benefit millions of Ethiopians to have access to quality and reliable communication services.”

He pointedly added that he was “very pleased that the consortium will invest $8 billion over the next 10 years” and looked forward to the creation of new jobs.

Leaders of the firms that formed the consortium are saying their company will play a big role in transforming digital service and connectivity in Ethiopia.

What are they saying

Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom, said: “We are excited for the opportunity to work with the people of Ethiopia to set 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.”

Shameel Joosub, CEO, Vodacom Group, said: “The consortium partners have a great track record for delivering transformative technology services, particularly when it comes to health, education and agriculture, built on quality telecom networks. We want to make a real difference to the lives of Ethiopians through promoting widespread digital inclusion as part of Vodacom’s pledge to connect the next 100 million Africans by 2025.”

Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone Group, said: “This is a significant development for Ethiopia, which is one of the last very large markets in the world to introduce telecom competition. We want to play a transformational role in ensuring Ethiopia’s huge economic and developmental potential is realised through the deployment of next generation connectivity and digital services, creating an inclusive and sustainable digital society.”

Toshikazu Nambu, Executive Vice President & Chief Digital Officer of Sumitomo Corporation, said: “Sumitomo Corporation operates a variety of businesses across the world, and the media and digital sector is one of the most important areas for us. We plan to bring our ample experience in Asia and Japan and know-how for cutting edge digital transformation to a really emerging country, Ethiopia. We would like to realise a better life for the people of Ethiopia based on our corporate message, ‘Enriching lives and the world’, and contribute to the further development of Africa.”

Tenbite Ermias, CDC’s Head of Africa, said: “Modern, stable and flourishing economies are built on reliable affordable digital infrastructure, and access to global trade. We are ready to roll out a state-of-the-art network that will bring vital economic opportunities to tens of millions of Ethiopians, from urban dwellers to farmers, and to businesses large and small. This outcome has the power to unlock development over time and is great news for Ethiopians across the country”.