Kenyatta urges Ethiopia to open its telecoms sector to foreign investors

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Kenyatta urges Ethiopia to open its telecoms sector to foreign investors

ADDIS ABABA - Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday urged Ethiopia to open up its telecoms sector to foreign investors, a move that would complement a process already underway to reform the sector and bring in private investment.

Ethiopia opens up its telecoms sector, which was previously a monopoly of the national Ethio Telecom, and last month the authorities awarded the first private operator licence.

The licence was granted to a consortium led by Safaricom, Vodafone and Sumitomo 8053 of Japan. T.

Currently, though only Ethio Telecom is allowed to offer foreign financial services while the mobile operators are barred from participating by law. Mobile money is a term used for banking transactions made using a phone or other mobile device.

I am hopeful that the Government will consider opening up the opportunity for mobile money in Ethiopia, Kenyatta, who is on a visit to Ethiopia, said a ceremony held in the capital Addis Ababa in September where the consortium was officially awarded an operational licence.

This move is particularly timely, as it will entitle millions of Ethiopian people to financial inclusion.

Mobile money services, which were established more than a decade ago in many sub-Saharan African countries, have become a lucrative segment of telecoms services in Kenya.

Ethiopia hopes that the opening of one of the world's last open major telecom markets will create millions of online jobs.

The Safaricom consortium plans to invest up to $8.5 billion in the country's infrastructure in other areas.

As part of opening the sector, Ethiopia is also planning to sell a 40% stake in Ethio Telecom to private investors and 5% to Ethiopian people. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said at the same function that his government was at the final stage of the tendering process.

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