Orange expresses interest for stake in Ethio Telecom

ETHIOPIA – French multinational telecommunications company Orange has submitted an expression of interest to participate in the ongoing partial privatization of Ethiopia’s Ethio Telecom firm for an undisclosed value, Ethiopia’s ambassador to Paris has revealed.

Henok Teferra Shawl said in a tweet Orange had “formally submitted an interest to participate in the partial privatization of @ethiotelecom.”

In June 2021, Ethiopia launched a tendering process for the proposed sell-off of a 40% stake in the state-owned carrier Ethio Telecom to private investors, part of the government’s broader plan to open up the Horn of Africa country’s economy. 

The telecoms business in Ethiopia, a country with a population of more than 100 million people and one of the region’s biggest economies, is considered lucrative and is expected to draw significant investor interest.

As part of the process to open up the telecoms sector in May 2021 authorities handed out the first private operator license to a consortium led by Kenya’s Safaricom Vodafone and Japan’s Sumitomo 

Ethio Telecom reported an 18.4% rise in full-year revenue to end-June to 56.5 billion birr (US$1.29 billion) on 30th June 2021, up from 47.7 billion birrs (US$1.08 billion) in the same period last year.

“Ethiopia’s telecommunications sector is highly attractive to foreign investors due to the country’s huge population exceeding 100 million people, and the unexplored potential in the industry”

The company reported growth in revenue despite the security challenges in some parts of the country and the Covid -19 pandemic.

Ethio-telecom’s CEO, Firehiwot Tamiru, credited the good performance to improved customer service by optimizing the telecom’s network.

Ethiopia’s telecommunications sector is highly attractive to foreign investors due to the country’s huge population exceeding 100 million people and the unexplored potential in the industry.

In May, the country issued a telecommunications license to a consortium led by Safaricom, in a bid to open up the mobile industry and enhance the quality of telecommunication services in Ethiopia.

The consortium intends to start operating in Ethiopia in 2022 by providing mobile phone and data services in the fastest-growing economy in East Africa.

If the deal is successful, the French telecommunications company will support Ethio-telecom to grow its subscriber base which currently stands at nearly 53 million and expand the telecommunication network in a country with little 4G coverage.

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