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Safaricom Ethiopia CEO to step down

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Safaricom Ethiopia has announced that its first-ever CEO Anwar Soussa will be leaving the company on July 31, 2023.

Soussa helped set up the Ethiopian business after the consortium of Safaricom, Vodacom and Vodafone was granted an operating license in May 2021, ending Ethio Telecom's monopoly in the market.

Safaricom Ethiopia further set up business operations and rolled out the new network in the city of Dire Dawa in the eastern part of the country in August 2022.

Then, in October the company switched on its mobile network and services in the Horn of Africa nation's capital, Addis Ababa, and ten other cities.

Soussa's Safaricom tenure

Soussa joined as CEO for Ethiopian operations in August 2021 and since then, he has led the operator to gain more than 4 million customers with a network that covers 25% of the population across 50 cities and towns, the telco said in a LinkedIn post.

Before joining Safaricom Ethiopia, Soussa was previously a managing director at Vodafone in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and was the chairperson of M-Pesa, a role he took on in 2017.

Anwar Soussa (right), pictured with Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa, was a managing director at Vodafone in the DRC and chairperson of M-Pesa before joining Safaricom Ethiopia.  (Source: Peter Ndegwa's Twitter account.)
Anwar Soussa (right), pictured with Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa, was a managing director at Vodafone in the DRC and chairperson of M-Pesa before joining Safaricom Ethiopia.
(Source: Peter Ndegwa's Twitter account.)

In May this year, Safaricom Ethiopia was granted the license to operate mobile money services, paving the way for it to launch its popular platform M-Pesa in Ethiopia.

"Our heartfelt gratitude to Soussa for his leadership and contributions to Safaricom Ethiopia," the company said in a statement. "Throughout his tenure, he has demonstrated unwavering passion and commitment, which have played a crucial role in our achievements thus far. We will announce Soussa's successor in due course."

Soussa is the second high-profile executive to leave Safaricom Ethiopia in the last three months. In February, Chief Technology and Information Officer Pedro Rabacal was replaced by James Matai.

Safaricom Ethiopia is owned by an international consortium called The Global Partnership for Ethiopia that includes Vodacom Group, Vodafone Group, Safaricom, Sumitomo Corporation – one of the largest international trading and business investment companies – and British International Investment (BII), the UKs development finance institution and impact investor.

Early this month, the consortium welcomed another investor in Ethiopia, with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) joining as a minority shareholder through a $157.4 million equity investment and a $100 million loan to its wholly owned subsidiary, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia.

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*Top image is of outgoing Safaricom Ethiopia CEO Anwar Soussa. (Source: Safaricom Ethiopia.)

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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