Ethiopian Telecom License Gets International Award

ADDIS ABABA – The Telecom Service License issued to the Global Partnership for Ethiopia (GPE) won an award the World Bank group’s Partnerships Award 2022.

The awards ceremony took place on Thursday in London, where the winners of 2021 and 2022 Awards were announced.

The GPE emerged as winner in the “Best Utilities Project” Category.

The Partnerships Awards are the industry’s biggest and most prestigious celebration of excellence in the industry.

The judges recognized the huge impact of the project on development through job creation and enhanced telecom services.

“Diligence and transparency of the process were key for the recognition,” said the Ethiopian Telecommunications Authority (ECA).

In June 2021, the ECA reached financial close with the Global Partnership for Ethiopia on the nation’s first competitively tendered telecommunications license.

The partnership, a consortium of Safaricom, Vodafone Group, Vodacom Group, CDC Group PLC and Sumitomo Corporation, become the Second Telecom operator in Ethiopia as Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia Plc in July 2021.

“The scheme will open up competition in telecoms, allowing greater internet usage, digital transformation, socio-economic growth and inclusive prosperity,” said the ECA.

The license promotes ongoing investments in the sector, with the operating consortium planning to invest a minimum of $8.5bn over the first 10 years of the license, making it the single largest foreign direct investment into Ethiopia in history.

In a description of the project, the awards book states, “for the first time in the world, the business case is entirely based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will allow high-speed mobile penetration to increase from 6% in 2021 to 98% within three-to-five years, thereby supporting education and training across the vast country and making it possible for people to have access to doctors regardless of their location.”