Safaricom bids for Ethiopia licence

18 June 2021

Kenyan operator Safaricom has made a formal bid to get a licence to operate in Ethiopia — one of the world’s last major closed telecommunications markets.

The firm said it is submitting its proposal through a consortium it is leading with its parent firms Vodafone and Vodacom, British development finance agency CDC Group and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation.

Ethiopian authorities had told media that the Horn of Africa nation would award two telecoms licences to multinational mobile companies after pushing forward the deadline in response to requests for extension from interested bidders.

“The ECA has indicated that proposals from interested bidders must be submitted by 26th April 2021, and the successful bidders will be announced within thirty (30) days (subject to timings subsequently advised by the ECA),” Safaricom said.

The Ethiopian government is expected to assess the bids within a one-month window and announce the successful firms by the end of May.

A request for proposal for the two new licences was launched on November 27 last year and 12 companies expressed interest, including Safaricom.