Ethiopia edges closer to privatise Ethio Telecom

Ethiopia edges closer to privatise Ethio Telecom

Prime Minister establishes advisory council to oversee process.

Ethiopia is pressing ahead with the privatisation of monopoly operator Ethio Telecom, along with other state-owned business enterprises.

In June the government announced its intention to partially privatise state-owned businesses and trigger activity in the private sector to help reshape the economy.

In the latest development Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office four months ago, has appointed an advisory council to oversee the process.

The 21-member council will study the breakup of Ethio Telecom into two units, mobile and fixed-line service providers in which shares will be sold to both domestic and foreign investors.

Ethio Telecom's network capacity currently stands at 62 million mobile phone subscribers and 3 million fixed line users with mobile phone coverage estimated at 85%.

Ethiopia is one of the few countries in Africa that still have a state monopoly in telecoms.

In June 2018, ITWeb Africa reported that MTN and Vodacom are interested in entering the Ethiopian market, Africa's second largest telecom market after Nigeria with a population of 100 million people.

"The council will ensure that the privatisation process is managed by utmost transparency and accountability," Ahmed said.