Ethiopia moves to sell 40% stake in Ethio Telecom

ETHIOPIA – The government of Ethiopia has launched a tendering process for the proposed sell-off of a 40% stake in state-owned telco Ethio Telecom to private investors, part of its broader plan to open up the economy.

Interested investors can now submit expressions of interest (EOIs), the first of a series of stages that will lead to picking of a successful bidder, Zinabu Yirga, Deputy Director of Public Enterprises Holding, and Administration Agency told a press conference in the capital, Addis Ababa.

“The government wants state-owned enterprises to be competitive and productive,” Zinabu said, explaining the authorities’ motivation for selling a part of Ethio Telecom to private operators.

As part of the broader opening up of the sector, Ethiopia is also moving to license private operators to compete with Ethio Telecom.

In May 2021, authorities handed out the first private operator licence to a consortium led by Kenya’s Safaricom, Vodacom and Japan’s Sumitomo.

The telecoms business in Ethiopia, a country with a population of 112 million people and one of the region’s biggest economies, is considered lucrative and is expected to draw significant investor interest.

Brook Taye, senior advisor at the finance ministry said the 40% would be sold as a single stake to a single investor.

The tendering has been done in line with the appointment of Deloitte as a lead transaction advisor, who is now on the final stage of completing the preparatory work which includes business plan, financial, legal and tax due diligence and business valuation following the global best practice, it was indicated.

Zinabu stated that the issuance of the EIO will be allowed the international investors to express interest in acquiring a stake in Ethio-Telecom within one month starting from June 15, 20121.

After the issuance of the EOI, the process will follow with a Request for Proposal (RFP) and the timeline for the release of the RFP will be communicated in due course with the aim of completing the transaction in an efficient and streamlined manner, it was stated.

Senior Advisor of Ministry of Finance, Brook Taye said the Expression of Interest (EOI) is open to all investors and operators interested to engage in the sector.

“We are expected many investors and operators participate in this EOI,” he stated.

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