Ethiopia plans to open its state-run telecoms monopoly to private domestic and foreign investment, Reuters reports. In its ruling, the EPRDF coalition has backed its own calls for necessary economic reforms in the country to sustain rapid growth and boost its exports. ‘While majority stakes will be held by the state, shares in Ethio Telecom … will be sold to both domestic and foreign investors,’ it confirmed.
Hot on the heels of the development, two of Africa’s high-profile telecoms groups have expressed an interest in taking up a position in Ethiopia. South Africa’s MTN Group said it was excited by the potential opening up of the Ethiopian market, noting that it would be ‘a natural fit for [the company’s] existing pan African footprint,’ and adding: ‘Ethiopia presents many exciting telecommunication opportunities and we look forward to further discussions with that nation’s authorities on potential partnerships and opportunities.’ Meanwhile, another South Africa-based company, Vodacom Group – itself majority owned by the UK’s Vodafone Group – said of the development: ‘Vodacom has said on many occasions that Ethiopia is an attractive market so it follows that there would be interest. Naturally this is dependent on what might become available and if it fits within our investment parameters.’