The Ethiopian government has disclosed that it will be selling 45% of the shares of Ethio Telecom, a public telecom operator that lost its monopoly in 2022. This represents an increase from the previously announced 40% stake sale in November 2022.
“The Ethiopian government is proposing a partial privatization of Ethio Telecom by selling up to 45% of its capital,” the Ministry of Finance announced in a statement, citing the company’s ‘solid financial performance.’
The ministry had declared in November 2022 that 40% of the company’s capital shares would be sold as the government intensified privatization efforts.
The partial privatization of Ethio Telecom, which began in June 2021, was initially postponed to March 2022 due to ‘recent developments and rapid macro-economic changes’ both globally and within the country. The indefinite postponement was announced thereafter.
In January 2022, Ethio announced its half year results, indicating improvement on several fronts. According to the company, total subscribers reached 70 million by the end of December 2022, growing by 9.2% since the beginning of July 2022 when its current financial year 2022/2023 started.
According to Ethio Telecom:
- Mobile voice subscribers reached 67.7 Million
- Data and Internet users hit 31.3 Million
- Fixed Services rose to 862.2K
- Fixed Broadband subscribers reached 566.2K
When it comes to revenue, the company generated a total of 33.8 billion ETB ($627.64 million) in the preceding six months in its first results released after the arrival of a private competitor, Safaricom Ethiopia.
Safaricom Ethiopia officially started operations in October 2022, more than 1 year after its bid was accepted by the Ethiopian government in May 2021. In its own half year results announced in November 2022, the company revealed that it had already reached 1 million subscribers in just one month of operations.
The privatization of state corporations like Ethio Telecom was one of the key reform promises when Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, took office in 2018 with the aim of modernizing Ethiopia’s heavily state-controlled economy.
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