Africa-Press – Ethiopia. Addis Ababa June 4/2021 (ENA) The new telecom operator in Ethiopia, Global Partnership for Ethiopia has paid 850 million USD licensing fee, according to Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA).
Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) Director General, Balcha Reba told ENA that remarkable work with due diligence had been done to bring private sector to the telecom and improve the service.
Accordingly, a new nationwide telecom license was granted for Global Partnership for Ethiopia, a consortium of telecom operators made of Vodafone, Vodacom, Safaricom, Sumitomo Corporation, and the CDC Group.
The new operator has now paid the 850 million USD licensing fee, the General Director stated.
“We have begun license execution on May 31st and on June 2nd it has paid 850 million USD to the government through the National Bank of Ethiopia. This money has already been paid to Ethiopia without any pressure under the signature of the provider and license winner,” the Director General explained.
The partnership has obtained 500 million USD loan from financial institutions in the UK and US, Balcha stated, and added that the recent US sanction on Ethiopia has no impact on the matter as the license is awarded to a consortium of companies.
Furthermore, he pointed out that apart from that there are international agreements to safeguard and protect cross boundary investments.
“The diplomatic discussion between our country and US has its own channel; however, has no negative influence on this investment. There is a system that protects investments if we look at the International Investment protection or world cross boundary investment and thus it will not have any effect,” Balcha noted.
A minimum of 30 million subscribers, business engagement including in developing countries, managing telecom infrastructure capacity, and market share were among the technical criteria set for the selection of the companies, it was indicated.
With over 8 billion total investment USD and 850 million USD licensing fee, the investment to be made by the Global Partnership for Ethiopia group will be the single largest FDI into Ethiopia to date.
The Company is also expected to create more than 1.5 million jobs for Ethiopians, it was indicated.
The authority revealed that by including new policy directions an auction for the second private telecom operator will soon be public.
Digital economy is among the priorities of the Homegrown Economic Reform being implemented by the government of Ethiopia and is expected to contribute about 6.6 percent to GDP by 2030.