ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured Ethiopians of an improved economy following the entry of Kenya’s major telco, Safaricom into the country.
Safaricom in partnership with South Africa’s Vodacom, UK’s Vodafone, British Finance agency CDC Group and Japan’s Sumitomo will be Ethiopia’s first private player after winning a 15-year license in a Ksh.91.8 billion bid
Kenyatta was in Ethiopia to sign an agreement for the issuance of an operation license to The Safaricom-led consortium.
While addressing communication stakeholders in Addis Ababa, the president lauded Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Dr. Abey Ahmed and his administration for choosing to liberalize the country’s telecommunications sector.
“Today’s ceremony is the first step in an exciting and rewarding opportunity for Ethiopia. Kenya has seen the great gains and opportunities unleashed by Safaricom across the entirety of our socio-economic landscape.
Ethiopia now stands at the cusp of making even greater strides in Safaricom’s areas of strength; which include digital presence, mobile money, telephony, data and fibre connectivity, and business solutions,” said Kenyatta.
The president also urged Ethiopians to consider opening up opportunities for mobile money services as part of the telecommunications liberalization process.
“In Kenya, the success of M-PESA, Africa’s if not global, first mobile money platform, is a classic example of what possibilities lie in mobile financial services, if fully exploited.
“Studies have shown that enhanced access to mobile financial services, have a great potential to reduce poverty as more people are enabled, easier and safer savings and in effect, greatly influencing the kind of choice they make in life.” He added
Kenyatta also said that mobile financial services are key in addressing various societal gaps particularly gender disparities as they open up opportunities for women to participate fully in economic development.
According to Kenyatta, Safaricom’s entry to Ethiopia hopes to create over 1.5 million job opportunities for it citizens.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Abiy said the award of the license will catalyze inclusive prosperity adding that the competition will create a vibrant telecommunications sector hence significantly contributing to economic growth.