Safaricom consortium gets license to enter Ethiopia

Safaricom trades over 2 million shares to close week as top mover

Safaricom has been awarded a telecommunications license to operate in Ethiopia after a year-long race for access to one of the world’s last telecoms frontiers.

According to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Safaricom-led consortium that includes its parent firms Vodafone and Vodacom, British Development Finance Agency CDC Group and Japan’s Sumitomo corporation won the award after submitting a financial bid of Ksh.91.8 billion.

With the Safaricom consortia expected to invest over Ksh.864 billion over the next 10 years, PM Abiy noted this will be the single largest foreign direct investment into Ethiopia to date.

In November, the Ethiopian Communications Authority had listed 12 firms including Safaricom among firms that were eying the country’s telecommunications market.

Delayed submission

An earlier communication from ECA had said proposals from interested parties were to be submitted by April 26 and successful bidders were to be submitted within a period of 30 days.

It delayed its planned decision on awarding the new licenses into 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The telco will now to introduce its popular mobile money transfer service, M-Pesa in the market of 110 million people.

It is a big score for the telco because earlier in May, Ethiopia had made a u-turn to only allow local telecommunications companies to launch mobile phone-based financial services.

Other Africa’s largest telecom groups, that had expressed interest in Ethiopia’s license include MTN and Orange.

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