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Ethiopia initiates process to privatise Ethio Telecom

Ethiopia initiates process to privatise Ethio Telecom

The Ethiopian government has begun the process of privatising the country's only mobile phone operator Ethio Telecom to open up the telecom sector and attract foreign investment.

State Minister of Finance Eyob Tekalign said his ministry will hire a transaction advisor and has invited applications.

According to the minister the government has already selected a five-member committee to manage the bid evaluation process to select the advisor.

He said the advisory is expected to serve for 14 months and consult on a feasible mode of privatisation, financial and accounting preparation for the pre-privatisation phase, recommend the percentage of the capital to be put on sale and suggest basic terms and conditions of the privatisation process.

Tekalign said the selected advisor is scheduled to begin work from November this year and will base recommendations on an asset evaluation of the company conducted by KPMG East Africa.

The minister added that two new operators are expected to enter the Ethiopia telecom sector by next year.

"Ahead of opening the sector to foreign investment, the government is working on strengthening the institutions and human capabilities of Ethio Telecom and other regulatory bodies," Tekalign said.

Ethio Telecom's network currently accommodates over 62 million mobile phone subscribers, with mobile phone coverage estimated at 85%.

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

In June 2018, ITWeb Africa reported that MTN and Vodacom expressed interest in entering the Ethiopia market, Africa's second largest after Nigeria with a population of over 100 million people.

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