Ethiopia received bids for telecommunications licences from MTN Group and a consortium led by Vodafone Group, according to Brook Taye, an adviser in the finance ministry.
“We always wanted quality providers and this is what we have received,” Taye said by phone. “These are two African giants — the Safaricom-led consortium and MTN — either one or two of the operators will get a licence in Ethiopia.”
Ethiopia will take a few days to review the technical offer and then open the financial bids, he said. The government is looking to award two full-service telecoms licences as part of its plan to attract more foreign investment to its economy.
Earlier on Monday, Kenya’s largest telecoms provider, Safaricom, said it was bidding for one licence jointly with Vodafone and the UK carrier’s South African unit, Vodacom Group. Others in the consortium include CDC Group and Sumitomo, it said in a notice in Nairobi-based Daily Nation newspaper. The members may invest through special purpose investment vehicles, according to the statement.
MTN, meanwhile, said its bid for a licence in Ethiopia has been made in partnership with Silk Road Fund from China. Other partners will be disclosed on a successful bid outcome, MTN said.
“Ethiopia provides the largest telecoms and digital services growth opportunity in Africa over the medium term and fits into our pan-African focus and platform strategy. We are being guided by our capital allocation framework in our assessment of this opportunity,” said MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita in a statement. — Reported by Samuel Gebre, (c) 2021 Bloomberg LP, with additional reporting (c) 2021 NewsCentral Media