Safaricom to Bid on Opportunity to Expand in Ethiopia

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Safaricom is now one of six companies vying for the chance to claim one of two Ethiopian telecoms licences. This is one opportunity that the telco has been waiting on and one that might grant access to a licence in an economy with more than 100-million people.

This comes after the Ethiopian Telecommunication Authority (ECA) issued a statement last year announcing that the country would be open to selling a 40% stake in the state-owned company. In response to this announcement, Safaricom and, its parent company, Vodacom both expressed their interest in buying a stake in Ethio Telecom.

According to Bussiness Daily, the ECA has “whittled the list down from a consortium of 12 that had expressed interest in entering the country’s telecommunications market”. The consortium includes; Etisalat, Axian, MTN, Orange and Telkom SA.

Each of the companies, including Safaricom, must submit technical and financial bids by 5 April 2021. “We are working towards the final submission around March/April,” says Michael Joseph, Safaricom Chairman.

Kenya’s geographical proximity to Ethiopia is expected to be one reason why Safaricom could lead the consortium. “I think it will be a very good exposure to Safaricom from the perspective of geographical closeness on the one perspective, but also giving Safaricom additional exposure to more growth areas,” says Vodacom’s chief executive, Shameel Joosub.

In an interview with Daily Nation, Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom, states that he would continue to pursue ways to introduce the company’s data, M-PESA and geographical expansion to Ethiopia as part of his strategy to take the Africa-wide telecom to the next level of growth.

Edited by Jenna Delport
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