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Ethiopia starts process to sell 40% of Ethio Telecom

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Ethiopia's government has officially opened the tendering process for the sale of a 40% stake in state-owned telecoms operator Ethio Telecom to private investors.

The sale has been on the cards for quite some time as part of the East African nation's plan to liberalize the telecoms sector, and open up the country's economy.

According to Reuters, interested investors can now submit their expressions of interest (EOI) – which will be the first step in a series of stages that will lead to picking a successful bidder.

Brook Taye, senior advisor at the finance ministry, was quoted saying the 40% stake would be sold as a single stake to a single investor. Another 5% stake will be sold to local investors, possibly through an initial public offering, with the Ethiopian government retaining 55% of the company.

Bloomberg reports that interested investors have a month, from June 15, to submit their interest, and requests for proposals (RFPs) will be issued thereafter.

Ethio Telecom reported revenue of 25.6 billion birr (US$586 million) in the six months to December 2020 and has 50.7 million subscribers.

This next step in Ethiopia's telecoms liberalization comes after a consortium led by Kenya's Safaricom was last month awarded an independent telecoms operating license in Ethiopia, with a second license still up for grabs.

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