Safaricom Plc led consortium that includes its parent firms Vodafone and Vodacom, British development finance agency CDC Group and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation has been given a licence to operate in Ethiopia.
This is after submitting a financial bid of $850 million (KSh91.8 billion) the Ethiopian government announced on Saturday.
The Ethiopian government disclosed that it had received 2 offers, the other was from MTN from Johannesburg, and partners including the Silk Road Fund, a Chinese state investment group.
Safaricom had said if it was to be successful, it will continue focusing on M-Pesa, and data business in the Ethiopian market.
Safaricom, Vodafone and Vodacom offer voice, messaging, data, entertainment and financial services to at least 452 million customers in Africa, Europe and India.
Sumitomo Corporation’s operations include mobile telephony and development of the latest 5G technology, which is being built around the world.
The consortium will invest $8.5 billion in their network during the coming 10 years.
“The company will enter a commitment of creating 1.1 million jobs in 10 years and cover the country with a 4G service by 2023,” Brook Taye, a senior adviser at the Ministry of Finance said.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said, “The Council of Ministers has unanimously made a historic decision today (Saturday) allowing Ethiopian Communications Authority to grant a new nationwide telecom license to the Global Partnership for Ethiopia which offered the highest licensing fee and a very solid investment case,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said through his Twitter.
“This will be the single largest FDI [Foreign Direct Investment] into Ethiopia to date,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed added.
“Our desire to take Ethiopia fully digital is on track. I would like to thank all that have taken part in this and for pulling off a very transparent and effective process.”
With over USD 8 billion total investment, this will be the single largest FDI into Ethiopia to date.
Our desire to take Ethiopia fully digital is on track. I would like to thank all that have taken part in this and for pulling off a very transparent and effective process! 2/2 pic.twitter.com/8NZkkz9jzX
— Abiy Ahmed Ali 🇪🇹 (@AbiyAhmedAli) May 22, 2021