An international consortium named the Global Partnership for Ethiopia has been awarded a licence to operate telecom services in Ethiopia. The impact investment consortium aspires to support Ethiopia’s digital transformation and positively enhance the lives of its citizens.
The partners in the consortium are led by Safaricom Plc, a member of the Vodafone Group, and will establish a new operating company in Ethiopia which aims to start providing telecommunications services from 2022. In addition to Safaricom, the partnership includes: Vodacom Group; Vodafone Group; Sumitomo Corporation – one of the largest international trading and business investment companies; and CDC Group - the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor.
Ethiopia is home to over 112 million people, making it the second largest country in Africa by population. It is one of the last countries in the world to introduce competition in the telecom industry, a rigorous process started by the government in 2019 as part of its Economic Reform Agenda, with the support of the International Finance Corporation. The reforms aim to increase jobs, reduce poverty and grow the local economy in an inclusive and sustainable manner.
The Global Partnership for Ethiopia was created to bring about transformational economic and social impact in the country. The provision of accessible, affordable and high quality mobile and internet connectivity by the Partnership will enable greater social inclusion as millions more Ethiopians access quality telecom services. Increased connectivity in Ethiopia will also boost the economy, impacting over 1 million jobs with digital training and skills, and bringing about productivity improvements for countless micro-entrepreneurs and small and medium sized enterprises.
Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom, said: “We are excited for the opportunity to work with the people of Ethiopia to set up telecom networks to deliver a digital lifestyle. In past years, we have seen the power of digital transformation and its impact on our customers. We believe by working with all stakeholders in Ethiopia, we can deliver a similar transformation while achieving a sustainable return to our shareholders.”
Shameel Joosub, CEO, Vodacom Group, said: “The consortium partners have a great track record for delivering transformative technology services, particularly when it comes to health, education and agriculture, built on quality telecom networks. We want to make a real difference to the lives of Ethiopians through promoting widespread digital inclusion as part of Vodacom’s pledge to connect the next 100 million Africans by 2025.”
Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone Group, said: “This is a significant development for Ethiopia, which is one of the last very large markets in the world to introduce telecom competition. We want to play a transformational role in ensuring Ethiopia’s huge economic and developmental potential is realised through the deployment of next generation connectivity and digital services, creating an inclusive and sustainable digital society.”
Toshikazu Nambu, Executive Vice President & Chief Digital Officer, Sumitomo Corporation, said: “Sumitomo Corporation operates a variety of businesses across the world, and the media and digital sector is one of the most important areas for us. We plan to bring our ample experience in Asia and Japan and know-how for cutting edge digital transformation to a really emerging country, Ethiopia. We would like to realise a better life for the people of Ethiopia based on our corporate message, ‘Enriching lives and the world’, and contribute to the further development of Africa.”
Tenbite Ermias, CDC’s Head of Africa, said: “Modern, stable and flourishing economies are built on reliable affordable digital infrastructure, and access to global trade. We are ready to roll out a state-of-the-art network that will bring vital economic opportunities to tens of millions of Ethiopians, from urban dwellers to farmers, and to businesses large and small. This outcome has the power to unlock development over time and is great news for Ethiopians across the country”.
For further information:
Vodacom Group Media Relations
Safaricom PR & Corporate Communications
Phone: +254 722 005211
123 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6DE
T. +44 (0) 20 7042 1569
M. +44 (0) 7515 695232
About Vodafone Group
Vodafone is a leading telecommunications company in Europe and Africa. Our purpose is to “connect for a better future” enabling an inclusive and sustainable digital society. Our expertise and scale gives us a unique opportunity to drive positive change for society. Our networks keep family, friends, businesses and governments connected and – as COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated – we play a vital role in keeping economies running and the functioning of critical sectors like education and healthcare.
Vodafone is the largest mobile and fixed network operator in Europe and a leading global IoT connectivity provider. Our M-Pesa technology platform in Africa enables over 48m people to benefit from access to mobile payments and financial services. We operate mobile and fixed networks in 21 countries and partner with mobile networks in 49 more. As of 31 March 2021, we had over 300m mobile customers, more than 28m fixed broadband customers, over 22m TV customers and we connected more than 123m IoT devices.
We support diversity and inclusion through our maternity and parental leave policies, empowering women through connectivity and improving access to education and digital skills for women, girls, and society at large. We are respectful of all individuals, irrespective of race, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, belief, culture or religion.
Vodafone is also taking significant steps to reduce our impact on our planet by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2025 and becoming net zero by 2040, purchasing 100% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and by July 2021 in Europe, and reusing, reselling or recycling 100% of our redundant network equipment.
About Safaricom (a member of the Vodafone Group)
Safaricom is the leading telecommunication company in East Africa. Our purpose is to transform lives by connecting people to people, people to opportunities and people to information. We keep over 38 million customers connected and play a critical role in the society, supporting over one million jobs both directly and indirectly while our total economic value was estimated at KES 358.6 Billion ($3.58 Billion) for the 12 months through March 2021.
Listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and with annual revenues of over KES 250 Billion ($2.5 billion), Safaricom provides connectivity through wide range of technology, 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G in aggregate covering over 99% of Kenya’s population.
We run the world’s largest mobile payment system and Africa’s largest Fintech - M-PESA, the world’s first mobile money transfer system. By empowering over 28 million customers to transact, save or borrow money through their mobile phone, M-PESA has driven financial inclusion in Kenya to more than 82% of the adult population from a low of 25% and generates over KES 82.65 Billion ($826 Million) in revenue per annum.
Safaricom is an equal opportunity employer, actively recruiting staff from different backgrounds reflecting the communities that we serve. We are committed to equal gender representation at all levels. Our target is to achieve 50:50 senior management gender parity by 2025.
As part of our ongoing commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we continue to work towards improving energy and resource efficiency in our network and facilities to reduce carbon emissions and our fuel consumption. We remain committed to becoming a Net Zero carbon-emitting company by 2050. For more details please visit www.safaricom.co.ke
About Vodacom (a member of the Vodafone Group)
Vodacom is a leading African communications company providing a wide range of communication services, including data, mobile and fixed voice, messaging, financial services, enterprise IT and converged services to 123.7 million customers (including Safaricom). From our roots in South Africa, we have grown our mobile network business to include operations in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the DRC), Mozambique, Lesotho and Kenya. Our mobile networks cover a population of over 295.8 million people. Through Vodacom Business Africa (VBA), we offer business managed services to enterprises in 47 countries. Vodacom is majority owned by Vodafone (60.5% holding), one of the world’s largest communications companies by revenue.
Sumitomo Corporation (“SC”) is a leading Fortune 500 global trading and business investment company with 135 locations (Japan: 22, Overseas: 113) in 66 countries and regions. The entire SC Group consists of more than 900 companies. SC conducts commodity transactions in all industries utilizing worldwide networks, provides customers with financing, serves as an organizer and a coordinator for various projects, and invests in companies to promote greater growth potential. SC’s core business areas include six business units: Metal Products; Transportation & Construction Systems; Infrastructure; Media & Digital; Living Related & Real Estate; and Mineral Resources, Energy, Chemical & Electronics, and one initiative: Energy Innovation.
Our corporate message, “Enriching lives and the world”, was created to encapsulate our vision for sustainability in the next 100 years. Our business, as well as our relationship with our stakeholders, has expanded on a global scale. Our mission is to grow sustainably alongside society, pursue development for the world, and enable better lives for all.
For more information, please visit: https://www.sumitomocorp.com/en/jp
About CDC Group
CDC Group is the UK’s first impact investor with over 70 years of experience of successfully supporting the sustainable, long-term growth of businesses in South Asia and Africa. CDC is a leading player in the fight against climate change and a UK champion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – the global blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for us all.
The company has investments in over 1,200 businesses in emerging economies and a total portfolio value of $6.2 billion. This year CDC will invest over $1.75bn in companies in Africa and Asia with a focus on fighting climate change, empowering women and creating new jobs and opportunities for millions of people.
CDC is funded by the UK government and all proceeds from its investments are reinvested to improve the lives of millions of people in Africa and South Asia. CDC’s expertise makes it the perfect partner for private investors looking to devote capital to making a measurable environmental and social impact in countries most in need of investment.
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