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Ethiopia postpones privatization of Ethio Telecom

It is to be recalled that as part of its Homegrown Economic Reform program, the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (“Government of Ethiopia”) had laid out the framework for the privatization of public enterprises under the Public Enterprises Privatization Proclamation No. 1206/2020 in order to broaden the role of the private sector in the Ethiopian economy, improve the efficiency of public enterprises, enhance their competitiveness, increase their access to capital, and enhance the quality and accessibility of their services.

In line with this program, the Government of Ethiopia had proposed a partial privatization of Ethio Telecom (“Company”), by selling 40% of the equity share capital of the Company. In September 2021, the Government of Ethiopia released a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) for the partial privatization to invite proposals from interested parties who can add value to the Company by bringing in best practices in terms of operations, infrastructure management and next generation technological capabilities. As a result, the Government of Ethiopia have had discussions with several bidders.

Given the recent developments and fast-moving macroeconomic changes both globally and from a country perspective, the Government of Ethiopia has chosen to postpone the privatization process. The Government of Ethiopia believes that taking time to accommodate the improved macroeconomic situation as well as continually improving financial performance of Ethio Telecom will result in better value for all the parties involved and in particular the citizenry of Ethiopia. The Government of Ethiopia remains committed to finalizing the privatization process and looks forward to re-engaging in due course with existing and additional parties that have expressed interest in the RFP.

CT Bureau

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