The group presented a bid of Ksh91 billion edging out South Africa’s MTN whose bid was Ksh65 billion.
The license will help the consortium create 1.1 million jobs in 10 years at a cost of Ksh919 billion and cover the country with a 4G service by 2023. This will be the single largest foreign direct investment in Ethiopia’s history.
“The Council of Ministers has unanimously made a historic decision today allowing Ethiopian Communications Authority to grant a new nationwide telecom license to the Global Partnership for Ethiopia which offered the highest licensing fee and a very solid investment case.” Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy announced on his social media pages
Brook Taye, a senior adviser at the Ministry of Finance. added that the government had called off the sale of a second new permit.
“However, we invite fresh bids from international wireless carriers after some policy adjustments,” Taye stated.
MTN’s partner in its bid included the Silk Road Fund, a Chinese state investment group.
The project begun in mid 2018 and was seen by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as part of a plan to reform the economy.
However, the project was hit by setbacks among them the Covid-19 pandemic that affected the whole world and delayed elections.
The Country has a population of more than 110 million people and it is the second largest in Africa.
Nevertheless, less than half of this population have mobile subscriptions.
Safaricom was allowed the consortium for several reasons, including Kenyaâ€™s geographical proximity to Ethiopia.