Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Business of Tech

Bigger stake in Ethio Telecom now up for grabs

Article Image
Ethiopia's government is now offering to sell a bigger portion of Ethio Telecom as it relaunches the partial privatization of the state-owned telco, upping the stake offered from 40% to 45%.

The Horn of Africa nation has been planning the partial privatization since June 2018 as part of the country's plans to liberalize the telecoms sector.

A tender for the partial sale was launched back in June 2021 but the process stalled in March 2022.

Now the Ministry of Finance says it will be selling up to 45% of the equity share capital of the company.

"Over the last decade, Ethiopia has become one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. Its young population, high gross domestic product growth rate, and increased private sector investment offers valuable growth opportunities. Further, low tele density in Ethiopia highlights the huge untapped potential in Ethiopia's telecommunication sector," the Ethiopia Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

"The Company's robust infrastructure coupled with its strong financial performance will offer significant competitive advantage to any investor," it added.

Telecoms liberalization

In November 2022, the government revived its plans to sell the Ethio Telecom stake and also a strategy to issue another private telecoms license in the country.

The government has always planned to sell two additional licenses and in May 2021 a consortium led by Kenya-based Safaricom became the first private investor to be awarded an operating license offering $850 million for the license and promising to invest US$8 billion in Ethiopia over the next ten years.

Pan-African operator MTN had shown interest in the second license but its $600 million offer was rejected as it was deemed too low by Ethiopian authorities. MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita said at the time he was "bitterly disappointed" that the telco was unable to secure the license.

Safaricom's network in Ethiopia went live in capital Addis Ababa in October 2022.

Ethiopia's Ministry of Finance plans to sell up to 45% of Ethio Telecom's equity. (Source: Image by wirestock on Freepik)
Ethiopia's Ministry of Finance plans to sell up to 45% of Ethio Telecom's equity. (Source: Image by wirestock on Freepik)

With a population of over 110 million, Ethiopia is the second largest country in Africa and has huge potential for telecoms growth with less than 70 million mobile users at the end of 2022, according to statistics from market research company Omdia, with the bulk of users still on 2G or 3G services.

Omdia statistics show that Ethio Telecom still has the bulk of subscriptions, around 67.7 million, while Safaricom had already onboarded 1.85 million users between its launch in October 2022 and the end of December 2022.

Proposals open

On February 9, 2022, the Ministry of Finance officially released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Partial Privatization to invite proposals from interested parties.

"This RFP is open to all interested parties and not limited to those companies who indicated their interest by submitting an expression of interest," it said.

However in order to obtain the RFP, interested parties will be required to pay a non-refundable fee of $20,000 and submit a confidentiality undertaking to the Government of Ethiopia.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Image by Allexxandar on Freepik .

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Ghana's regulator declares Starlink operations illegal

The National Communications Authority (NCA) of Ghana has announced that the operation of SpaceX's satellite Internet service, Starlink, is illegal in the country.


Liquid appoints ex-Cell C exec Lerato Pule as its CFO

Pan-African digital infrastructure provider Liquid Intelligent Technologies has appointed former Cell C exec Lerato Pule as its new chief financial officer.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Sponsored video

More videos

Africa Tech Perspectives


Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.


The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: September 2023

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in September 2023 in the Middle East and Africa included more 5G spectrum licenses, vendor and operator strategies, and partnerships – that and more in this month's Omdia View.


Omdia View: August 2023

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in August 2023 in the Middle East and Africa included a commercial 5G launch from Ethio Telecom and the signing of a virtual wheeling agreement between Vodacom South Africa and Eskom – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up
Tag id I-0000192